Today I am a bad Mom. A really bad, angry, frustrated Mom.It is week I-don't-even-know-anymore of the two year old molars coming in, and day I-haven't-a-clue of the personal assistant screaming, clinging, and fixating.
Today he woke us up at 5am, which is better than 4am in that it is later, and much, much worse because it is nearly impossible to get everyone back to sleep. I tried all of the usual things and nothing worked. Snuggling didn't work, letting him watch Thomas on the iPad in his room didn't work, playtime didn't work. Finally I shouted (from my bed) "If you can't play quietly then you will have to go back in your crib!" He did not play quietly, he went back in his crib, lights out. Where he continued to fuss, not cry, just fuss in the pitch perfect oh-my-god-that's-the-most-annoying-thing-I've-ever-heard sort of what that only a toddler can.
(If you've never had a toddler, you do not know of which I speak. This is a customized groaning that they can turn on and off at will, specially designed just for you. This is not the cry of something actually wrong, oh no. This is the sound of your two year old learning exactly how to manipulate you and bend you to their will. And if you ignore it, trying to maintain the upper hand, they will adapt it to sound like the cry of something actually wrong because they think it is hilarious to make you run. And nothing will ever be actually wrong until the day that you decide to let them work it out, and they don't, so you eventually go check on them convinced you are being manipulated, again, only to find the teething guard on the crib bloodied because a tooth erupted and realize that they were crying because it hurt and blood is scary and you feel like the worst Mom on the planet, excluding hamsters and guppies who eat their young, you aren't quite that bad...yet.)
The fussing does not escalate, or diminish, so I eventually gave up on any meaningful rest, got up and went to get him to start our day. He threw himself down and refused to get out of the crib. Then asked nicely to play puzzles. In his crib. Fine. Fine. Fine. You could have asked for that two hours ago and we would all be a lot happier but whatever. Fine.
Exhausted, I went back to my room, where I listened to him loudly throw every puzzle he didn't care to work on across the room, piece by wooden clattering piece. Eventually he settled down to work on the zoombus puzzle and was quiet and happy for about...ah...one minute, before he realized that the race car piece was missing (I swear to you it was there when I handed it to him) and started whining in that special just-for-me customized whine about the race car. Over and over and over again.
And the thing about my kid is that he is not easily distracted. (Want race car!) It won't be over until I find ("Want race car Mommy!") that flipping race car puzzle piece. That the probably threw, or hid. ("Want race car!") That is the smallest piece in the puzzle. ("Want race car!") That is somehow, inexplicably, ("Want race car!") not with the other pieces he threw across the room ("Mommy, want race car piece!") that have clearly followed a repeated trajectory would make the Myth Busters envious ("Mommy I NEED race car!") and landed in an impressive cluster ("Mommy?") and are all accounted for. ("Mommy. Mommy. Mommy." "What?" "Want red race car piece!") Oh, and he is still throwing himself down, ("No out of bed!") refusing to come out of the crib ("Want race car!") to look for the...("Mommy! Want race car! Mommy!")...the damn...("WANT RACE CAAAAARRRRR!")...the damn race car puzzle piece.
I lost it. I yelled. I jumped up and down. I pointed and gesticulated and screamed. And when I was done, because he is his father's son, he looked at me, cocked his head to the side, shrugged his shoulders and sweetly asked, in a completely normal, completely reasonable tone of voice, "What's wrong Mommy? What's wrong?" And in that moment I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, why Mrs. Guppy eats her children.