You know, aside from the whole “another pregnancy might ACTUALLY and LITERALLY kill me” thing, the other reason we dreaded the idea of bringing another newborn into this house was that it could potentially be exactly like (or worse than) Lucy was. I mean, the genes are there, right? Whatever awful mix of DNA that Dave and I both contributed to make the World's Most Terrible Sleeper could certainly be repeated, in varying shades and degrees of terrifying awfulness. EIGHTEEN MONTHS before she slept through the night, and when I say that she didn't sleep through the night, I don't mean she woke us up once or twice between the hours of 8pm and 7am. I know you've all heard this before but this period of eighteen months was a DEFINING PART OF MY LIFE. I know now that I cannot get up seven or eight times a night with a baby for eighteen months straight AND remain functional, not to mention, married. I do not possess the desire to RISK IT. It really was – truly and honestly – a horrible time.
But then magically, once Lucy turned 18 months and started sleeping, she was The Perfect Child. She was adorable and easygoing. She ate anything you gave her and she could be talked out of tantrums and she put herself down for naps. I never forced that child to take a nap – she almost always did so willingly. Sometimes I had to make the suggestion, and sometimes she didn't fall asleep, but she never got out of bed and never made a fuss once I tucked her in. Potty training took two days and there was zero issue with Number Two, something I was not expecting after the insanity that was training her older brother.
Unfortunately, we are now two weeks away from her fourth birthday and I think this is where the luck ends. I think she is growing out of this compliant phase – she is going to school and she is figuring out independence and control, and while I UNDERSTAND this and I am GLAD she is not a doormat, I really don't want to buy another vat of Advil. The Advil I am taking for the FULL BODY ACHES that getting through the day is leaving me with lately.
She doesn't listen to a word I say. I tell her not to do something and she says, wellllllll... and then gives me a pretty well-thought out reason why it's a good idea to continue it, and then she does. She pouts a lot and she whines more than ever before and she begs for everything she sees at Target and she pretty much kicks Dave in the face if he tries to get within three feet of her, and frankly, being her favorite is getting PRETTY OLD. THERE ARE NO REWARDS TO BEING THE FAVORITE. Just more demands! I'd love to be her favorite if she was 40 and rich and freely buying gifts and/or my affection! Unfortunately, being a kid's favorite person just means you have to be the one to load up a toothbrush with toothpaste or sing a third rendition of You Are My Sunshine or open a tube of yogurt or buckle a seat belt because NO ONE ELSE CAN DO IT LIKE YOU DO. (Not as flattering as it sounds, people who do not have children. NOT AS FLATTERING AS IT SOUNDS.)
It's not that she's doing things that aren't NORMAL for kids her age. I've seen enough America's Home Videos to know, and also I read blogs. I know that kids regularly paint with their own poop. But it's that she's had us, I don't know, FOOLED or something, for so long. It's like she's been lying in wait, acting sweet and charming and pleasant and biding her time, and then BAM, one day she decided enough is enough, and starts wiping boogers on every available surface. (You guys, you cannot even SEE out her car window, such is the booger/smear coverage.) She's sneaks candy and eats it in secret. She climbs out of bed repeatedly and ignores our angry reprimands. She refuses – REFUSES – to hold my hand in a parking lot for more than 3 seconds (I have to grab her upper arm so she won't careen into oncoming traffic). (She doesn't like it AT ALL.)
And then just last week we had Lauren and Nate over for a playdate and I actually said these words to Lauren: “My kids will not go anywhere in this house without me, so while that sucks, at least they aren't sneaking off and playing in my makeup or destroying anything in secret.”
HA HA HA HA HA FAMOUS LAST WORDS.
“Mom, I put on ALLLLLLLLL your makeup. All of it. ALL OF IT!”
(Let's pause for just a second to be kind of impressed that she got actual mascara on her actual eyelashes without poking herself in the eye, something even I can't do on a regular basis, and I've used mascara for, what, 20 YEARS? Although she also used the wand to color the entire backs of her hands black, so. You know. Not THAT impressed.)
You know. Life as we know it? OVER. I just... I didn't know FOUR was going to be the turning point of evil! Terrible Twos - DISPROVEN. Terrible THREES is what I expected and then when it didn't happen, I figured we were in the clear and I confess, I got snooty about it. Turns out it's FOUR that I should have been dreading all along and that is currently kicking me in the pants, even though we're 12 days out from her Official Birthday. Four! WHO KNEW? And if you DID know, WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME.