Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Give me a Bottle and the Open Road

The Little One has definitely turned a corner. One of a million, I am told. Possibly we thought we had already arrived at the "terrible twos" (/some say three is the beast//others say, there IS no such thing! to any of it -- which only says to me that No-Such-Things got off super-easy and are now irritatingly free to blissfully dismiss all the developmental oppositionality that occurs to the rest of us). For about six months, she has been crying princess-and-the-pea style numerous times a day, which is met with varying levels of patience by the taller people in the house. So we're good with that, or at least pretty good most of the time. It's possible that questions like, "Can we NOT cry about EVERYTHING?" may have escaped lips. Maybe this morning, maybe not.

Two days ago, amidst red-faced wailing about having three packs of markers versus two packs of markers in her reach, she frantically dashed all reachable markers to the floor, before attempting to launch herself across the dining room table at me, ALL while bellowing at me. The bellowing didn't work out so well, as she was heartily out of breath; the words were incomprehensible. Still, she bellowed and glared. It took a little while for her to recover from this. The force of it was daunting; and became more so, when the intensity level was repeated later on in the day. Rick and I were sitting on the kitchen floor, trying to play a nice ball of catch between the three of us; this was foiled after she decided all balls must be covered with blankets and absconded with. We kept snagging balls from the corners of the room and at least threw back and forth to each other; but she seized that one from us as well, blanketed it and ran away. I forget what caused the latter-day crying, but it presented as a running wail. She was mostly naked, scream-crying and running circles between rooms. In the doorway, she added a volley of foot-stomping and eyed us, with our hopeful outstretched arms. We were like magnets. She felt pulled toward us, but would yank herself away: "No! No! NOOOOoooooooooooo" It was almost laughable, but for the fact that she was clearly having a hard time. And sharing the exhaustion.

Yesterday, she added hate into the mix. I had never heard her say she hated anything before. And this was clearly experimental. Hate as confidential, hate with a smile. "I hate applecots," she announced, though this only seemed to apply to apricots cooked in oatmeal. "I hate cheese," she said later. The absurdity of this statement was only surpassed by "I hate bread," which I didn't bother to acknowledge. At the end of the day, she observed, "I hate toothpaste," after sucking it off the toothbrush, as she usually does.* While the protest/loud processing behavior is pretty exhausting for all involved, it *is* interesting to actually be able to see behaviors emerge, and to see someone clearly trying on different ways of being. Obviously, we're all performing our public selves -- and even aspects of our private selves -- but how often is it the case that we actively need to incorporate brand new ways of self expression or being? Hey Guys, today I started hating stuff! Well, not really hating them. But I said I hated them. It's a little glitchy... 

Her sole daytime nap is usually more of a downtime/quiet time. Which is usually more of a singing time, mixed in with some shouting. But lately if I drive her more than ten minutes in the afternoon, she's out like a light-- usually a few minutes away from our destination. So today I decided on the drive nap. One of the few remaining beautiful days, I have a new car that's actually fun to drive, we're golden! I shifted from a podcast to some chill music, the backseat was pleasantly quiet, and I had the pleasure of drifting off with my thoughts.

From the backseat: "...Sooooooo...HOW was your YOGA??"

This question was delivered in exactly the tone of an awkward exchange between two barely known acquaintances, who had not anticipated speaking to one another. One person has decided they, at least, will break the silence.

"It was great, honey, thanks. How was your storytime?" She liked it and noted a handful of standouts from the library. She started flipping through her Curious George early reader (which is not to say she can read~). Loudly: "Theeeee End!"

"Oh you're all done, then? We can look at that more later after we get back home."

Flip, flip, flip... "Theeeeee End." I remain silent, internally cursing myself that even if she stayed awake at home, I could have  been doing something right now. At least one of us craved downtime. "THE. END."

Me: "..."

Daughter: "You didn't say! You SAY."

I had clearly ignored the social contract. "It's quiet time, honey. Time to rest and relax, so I'm not going to talk more ~"

"It's NOT quiet time, I have this lovely BOOK TO READ and I am not rest and relaxing. SO it's NOT quiet time." So obviously, there was no sleep involved.

But NO! There was! But only after an empty milk bottle was lobbed into the front passenger seat, some fitful crying. But then, silence, or rather, better than silence: a light babyfied snore. So there I was, able to just be with myself, driving along country roads, past rock quarries and church signs, past crossing signs limited to deer and tractors; rolling through Norvell and Napoleon to a soundtrack of old Breeders songs and ambient electronica. What more did I know at the end of the day than at its beginning? Not much, but thankful for mobility, for witnessing developing personhood, and thankful thankful thankful for true respite.

*Our common and ineffectual remonstrance: "ToothBRUSHING not toothSUCKING!"

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