I’m An Asshole

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 Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexelsmajor 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).” Photo by Anna Shvets from PexelsYes, 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.

72 thoughts on “I’m An Asshole

  1. This whole post was hilarious. Having lived through those years, this all sounds so familiar. I especially appreciated the nonverbal communication between spouses. It’s the same thing we have when we’re at a party (you know, pre-COVID, when parties were actually a thing), and I look across the room at my wife, and her body language screams, “Get me the hell out of here!” 🤣🤣

    Choosing laughter over crying or getting angry is always the best choice, though I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t experienced the others. Toddler meltdowns are funny. Sometimes when our son was in the middle of a tantrum, I’d think, “Maybe I should film this episode and pull it out one day when he’s introducing his future wife to us.” 😎

    I also loved the play by play of the 8. You haven’t been a parent if you haven’t wondered, “Where did this come from?” Maybe you’ve got a future mathematician on your hands.

    Finally, my last piece of sage advice (I hear you, oh great wise one) is to enjoy it all. One day she will be off to college, and you and your husband will think, “Damn! We did something right. She’s amazing!” Oh, they’ll be plenty of challenging moments in between. Just wait until your kid is driving, out with her friends, and you lie in bed, pretending to sleep, as you wait to hear the front door open.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Pete! I missed this comment somehow! Thank you so much for reading, liking and reblogging my post. I so appreciate the advice and hearing your experiences as a father (your son is one lucky guy)! I have definitely taken the time to appreciate every stage of parenthood but at the same time I was so glad when each phase passed on! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • My pleasure, Bossy Babe. I’m glad to have discovered your blog. I was sincere when I told you that I rarely reblog anything. Your writing is excellent, and your wittiness comes shining through. Good luck to you and your husband with raising your little one. I’ve only been writing a short time as I taught elementary in my previous life. One thing I’ve discovered about writing is that readers love the raw honesty. Your piece has that when you questioned your parenting. Any parent can relate to that feeling. Keep writing!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow, I’m speechless. Thank you so much for your positive comment and support. I can’t tell you how much it means to me. I believe the main reason I am drawn to writing and sharing my writing is to be able to connect with people from all walks of life. I have enjoyed reading your content and connecting through our storytelling. Thank you! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. When my daughter was that age, I had to reprimand her for removing a plastic light socket cover. Of course she had a meltdown because I was a ‘mean’ mother for not allowing her to stick her finger into a light socket. So my message to you is, “I’m an asshole too!!” 😀

    Stay strong, sounds like you’re doing great!!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Love it and remembering The Terrible Two’s from the 1970s… Those were the days! Of course with Grands and Greats, we smile and handle most everything that comes up with a smile because we get to send those Terrific Two’s home to mommy and daddy. ❤ Blessed by it all! xo

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I think you’re a wonderful mother and I appreciate your humor and your cry for help. 🙂 I remember those days, even though they were over 35 years ago. I still bring out the photo of my son screaming up at me for some silly reason at that age, and I just brought out my camera and caught the moment, much to his disgust. He laughs at the photo now, because he’s been dealing with his own toddlers!! 🙂 I have little sympathy for him, though. I just say…”WAIT UNTIL THEY’RE TEENAGERS!!!”

    Liked by 3 people

  5. This made me LOL. Totally relatable. Our terrible twos started at birth (yes birth!!) and started to settle around his 3rd birthday so I guess 3 years in baby captivity isn’t terrible ….

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This was absolutely hilarious. Pete was right, he doesn’t reblog, and this post was hilarious. Nice to stumble over and find your blog. I really think you should submit this piece for a humor/parenting submission. Nice to come across your blog BB 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  7. You are not an asshole. You’re a parent pulling her hair out with a toddler. I’m a preschool teacher (this is my 37th year) and I smiled at your not-giving-in photos. Hang in there, Mom. Play outside as much as you can, let him take risks at play, and read aloud, read aloud, read aloud. Your humor shines through, which is wonderful. Best to you.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Lol toddlers and their demands. I remember having to have someone sit in the driver’s seat if we were in the car, because I was worried the car would drive off on its own if there wasn’t. I made such a big fuss. Kinda reminds me of that.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. …and they scream in such inappropriate places. Felt for a neighbour going into our small lift with her 3 young children. The screaming was amazingly loud as the toddler couldnt get the button to work. Poor luvs. Hearing damage on the cards!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Yeah. Oh dear, my heart is with you Toddlers are so hard to please many times. I babysitted toddlers before (many times from my brothers and sisters; other peopple’s kids; to our niece and nephew), and that wasn’t easy. But it was fulfilling. My niece is 10 years old now and my nephew, turning 4.
    Plus I have a baby! She’s going 3 months almost two weeks from now.
    For now, heads up, supermom!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I’m pretty sure all parents tell little white lies from time to time. Otherwise, we’d end up institutionalized (or in jail for putting that ill-advised “Kid for Sale – Cheap!” ad on Craigslist).

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I walked around for years in my house saying to myself, “You got to be F*cking kidding me!” At times I thought there must be a hidden camera and that I was on a reality show. My kids are now 23, 21, 16 and everyone survived pretty well on deflection, persuasion and lies.

    Liked by 2 people

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