My husband and I have been held hostage. It will be 3 years this coming April. The cavalry isn’t coming; hostage rescue has been halted
mainly only because the offender is my 2-year-old toddler, and well, she won’t leave.
Most days it feels like we’re being held captive by an unreasonable foreigner who we have a major communication barrier with (and other days, we wonder if there are a few cards missing in her deck). In other words, my toddler is absolutely insane! I’m sorry, that’s not entirely true. ACTUALLY, ALL TODDLERS ARE INSANE. And if you disagree then I am convinced you either don’t have a toddler, you don’t remember because you are too far gone from the toddler stage, you drink most days to take away the harsh reality, or you are insane as well.
Some days I feel like if she weren’t related to us, we probably would’ve sued her by now for pain and suffering, along with property damage and emotional distress. She is obviously in the midst of her terrible twos and anything can set her off. These tantrums generally occur when she stubbornly wants more (and more and more and more) of something that we don’t want her to have. So we’ve been forced to tell her small, exaggerated fibs every now and again: “oh no we don’t have anymore, we have to go buy some, the store has more there, we can go later (and pray she forgets).” Yes, I know, lying isn’t teaching children the cruel realities of a struggling life but look, staring at your kid and seeing the tell-tale signs (watery eyes, mouth wide open ready to scream and cry) of an imminent tantrum on the horizon is a fleeting moment. And in this moment, a quick decision has to be made: do what you need to do to move on with life peacefully (i.e. fib) or spend 10 minutes trying to coax a 2-year-old from licking a stray leaf that flew into the house and explain why it is a bad idea (covid or not), then deal with the negative aftermath. So, back to the lying, like I said this has successfully derailed most of the potential meltdowns and I have zero regrets. I may just have to tweak the fibs as her intuition muscle becomes more refined with age (“um, I can see the goldfish crackers behind the breadbasket, mum”). I’ve deduced that life with a toddler is the best and worst rollercoaster ride you will ever be on and it is so full of tears: tears of pain, tears of exhaustion, tears of tenderness, tears of dread, tears of utter frustration, and tears of joy (some days it may be all of the above).
Despite the sudden outbursts, for the most part it’s been manageable and predictable enough to mitigate when we sense it coming. We had a good stretch going for a bit and thought perhaps the terrible twos were starting to fade away (ha). So of course, to our surprise, one evening out of nowhere she noticed that the number 8 was missing on the giant Roman numeral clock hanging in our kitchen; it either never occurred to her before or she actually thought we removed it to ruin her life. Side note, she’s taken a particular liking to the number 8 lately (no idea, don’t ask). And somehow this realization (the missing 8), this distressing “news,” led to an epic meltdown right when we had sat down for dinner.
- 2yo: “I want 8! I want 8!! Where is the 8?!?!?”
- Husband: “The clock doesn’t have any 8s, sweetie. This one doesn’t have any. Some clocks do but this one doesn’t.”
- 2yo: *angrily stares at clock with tears in her eyes*
- Husband: *stares at me*
- Me: *stares at husband*
- Nervous silence.
- 2yo: “Have to go buy more, have to go buy more 8! Have go to buy more!!!”
My husband and I just sat there, unmoving. We were at an impasse. Oftentimes I struggle with how far I should play along or just be an asshole and tell her the honest truth. I want her to grow up to be a strong, fearless, self-sufficient woman who can handle the most earth-shattering news of her life and know that she can still pick herself up and dust herself off. “This clock will never have any 8s,” I wanted to calmly tell her while stifling a laugh. “We cannot go buy more because no one sells 8s.” Instead, my husband and I knowingly glanced at each other after a long, exhausting workday and gave her what we all needed- a gentle peace offering. “Okay, honey, we will go buy more 8.”
I, of course, say all this in jest. I love my daughter more than anything in the world and while life with her isn’t always easy, it is never short of humorous. If you plan to have kids, this all just goes with the territory (like spit up, sleepless nights, and finding food stains on every single white surface there ever existed). And if you already have kids then congratulations, you’ve exponentially increased your threshold for enduring all things you never thought possible like cleaning up poop explosions, tolerating an irate
customer kid, negotiating the most inconsequential things, never being able to eat your own food without a toddler pressing their chubby belly into your side hollering “I want that,” being handed slimy miscellaneous matters to hold for indefinite periods of time, the list goes on.
When I set out to write this post, I had conflicting thoughts. What if people think I’m a terrible mother, what if people think I actually dislike my kid. So my ultimate response is that I think it’s important to find the humour in everyday situations. For if I had a choice between laughing or crying, I choose laughter every single time. We should be able to have a good chuckle at our lives, ourselves, and our kid- especially when they do ridiculous things. Life isn’t meant to be taken seriously all the time. When she grows up (if she has the opportunity to read this) I hope she finds the comedy in this and all the other bat-shit crazy things she’s had a fit about before. No matter what though, she is definitely the cutest nut-job this
asshole mom has ever had the pleasure of knowing.