Aspen Princess: Living with a 2-foot-tall tyrant
OK, so it’s happening.
My sweet little baby has morphed into a 2-foot-tall tyrant who marches around the house screaming “Ba!” and pointing at various objects that are out of his reach.
Even though he does not have the capacity for language, he already has some serious acting chops, putting on some award-winning performances. He has the fake cry down, squeezing his eyes shut tight and contorting his mouth as if he is about to wail, only no sound comes out. Then there’s the throwing-the-head-down-in-defeat move, which is best executed with arms rigidly glued to his sides. The worst is the throwing back of the head, which is a lot more nerve-wracking, especially when there is nothing between his noggin and a hard surface. It kind of blows my mind that he hasn’t figured out that throwing his head back and slamming it into things causes pain, and so maybe that’s not the best move. I try not to think about the psychological implications of this as images of my son repeatedly banging his head against a wall dance in my head.
Meal times are a whole new experience now that Babe wants to feed himself. He clutches that little plastic spoon in his fist like it’s a $100 bill, god forbid I try to help him get the food from the bowl into his mouth instead of on the floor/down his shirt/in his hair/straight into the pug’s mouth. The best is when he dangles various objects over the edge of his tray as if he is intentionally taunting me, threatening to drop them on the floor. He does this with a glint in his eye and a smirk on his face, as if it’s a dare.
But I’m projecting that, right? I mean, it’s not possible that my perfect little angel is really a master manipulator who gets off on messing with my head. Of course he doesn’t understand: He’s just a baby.
You just keep telling yourself that, sister.
So I take a deep breath and do all the things helpless mothers of toddlers do, like shake my head, stare him down like a crazy person, or use that annoying 1950s housewife voice and speak to him in third-person saying things like, “Now, we don’t do that,” or simply “no,” a word he clearly does not yet understand, which I get is probably a good thing. (I know my days are numbered on that one).
Still, he always makes sure I am watching as he releases said object from thumb and forefinger and lets it splatter all over the floor. There may have been a time when I was concerned about my pug’s weight, but now I am just grateful to have a living, breathing vacuum cleaner living under my roof. I’m thrilled to let her lap up pieces of tangerine and oatmeal mixed with almond butter (which I’m pretty sure is what super glue is made of) from the floor.
I would guesstimate that about 60 percent of his food doesn’t make it anywhere near his mouth as I am constantly finding bits of quinoa and little pieces of mango in his hair and plucking them out like a gorilla grooming its young. But because he will not let me help him, I sit there helplessly as he holds the spoon upside down, dips it into the bowl and somehow manages to get some food to stick to it, only to fling it into the air so hard it sticks to the ceiling.
When he’s done, I wipe his face and hands with a wet napkin as he squirms and squeals and resists me like I’m trying to burn him with a hot poker. Then I spend a good 45 minutes cleaning up this mess, including the havoc I have wreaked in the kitchen trying to prepare a meal for a creature who only has six teeth. I never could have imagined that broccoli florets and mashed avocado and pulverized banana could give you nightmares, but I swear I find this stuff in my bra some days.
After that, it’s playtime, when he takes the 5,426 toys he has somehow acquired in his short life and throws them on the floor. For some reason, all the age-appropriate toys involve 7 million pieces and the idea is that the toddler is supposed to take the pieces apart and then put them back together again. Like the box of alphabet blocks or the 10 different versions of the same stacking toy. Only the toddler does not put them back together again. He throws them on the floor, creating a land mine for adults who at best stub their toe and at worst break their neck because they trip and fall while carrying their 17th cup of coffee. Mostly these toys end up under stuff, so you crawl on your hands and knees and then contort your body in order to get one eyeball and a limb underneath the couch so you can sprain your pinkie trying to extract the little stupid piece of toy out from under there while the little tyrant screams “ba!” and towers over you the whole time, threatening to throw an Academy Award-winning tantrum.
There are also the musical toys, like the plastic drum and the little piano and the xylophone, only Babe has figured out that he can make even more noise if he takes the drum stick and slams it against anything made from metal whilst hollering at the top of his lungs.
Nap time does eventually arrive, only now that Babe is older he doesn’t sleep for more than the amount of time it takes for me to clean up after him before we can start the whole process all over again.
That must be why God invented day care and beer and maybe the reason why I still love it so, every sticky, ear-piercing, carpal-tunnel-inducing minute.
The Princess got her new MacBook in rose gold, yippee. Email your love to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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