Oh, that moment. Parents, you know the moment. That moment when you look at a picture of your sweet, beautiful, perfectly blissful little newborn before turning to look at the funny, adorable, clever little DEMON that they've turned into and you wonder what the hell happened! I have had quite a few of these moments recently. Somewhere along the line, my not-quite-two-year-old has learned to negotiate. Her new favorite response is "Tye it (try it)", and she is quite liberal with its usage. Some examples for your amusement and commiseration:
Ladybug: Mommy, cogor (color)!
Mommy: Honey, I can't color right now. I'm driving, and we don't have crayons in the car.
Ladybug: Mommy, tye it! Cogor, peesse (please)!"
Mommy: Honey, we're almost home. We can color when we get home, but Mommy's driving right now. You'll have to wait.
Ladybug: [Scream!!! Scream scream scream, cry hysterically, screech, flail, scream scream scream]
Mommy: Baby, Mommy doesn't want to drink the bath water. Yucky!
Ladybug: Tye it!
Mommy: No, we don't drink bath water. It's dirty.
Ladybug: Tye it!
[Lather, rinse, repeat]
Mommy: Honey, no pinching! Pinching's not nice!
Ladybug: Okay, Mommy pinch Ladybug?
Mommy: Mommy's not going to pinch you, either! Pinching's not nice!
Ladybug: Mommy, tye it!
Heaven help me. How is it, parents, that we can want to wring our little angels' necks one minute, and the very next just want to hold them in our arms until the end of time (and vice versa)? They wield such power, these little imps of ours.
Having now survived two whole years of mom-hood with only minor battle scars, I feel compelled to share with you my new-found wisdom. For what it's worth, here are a few tips that you won't find in books. Heck, they may even contradict the books. Books are overrated.
1. Everything can be a hat. EVERYTHING. Colanders, dish towels, diapers, your bras. All will eventually become hats. Learn to view every item as a hat and make sure all items that do not belong on heads are well out of reach (yogurt cups, speaking from experience).
2. You see a hat box, a chair, a lego table....they see stairs to your bed. Children are brilliant abstract thinkers.
3. You will become so used to children's music that you will forget to turn it off once they are no longer in the car. Extra points if you're singing along. Okay, this isn't so much a tip as a warning.
4. You are a more versatile entertainer than you think, so go ahead and sing your heart out. It doesn't matter if you don't know a song, because they don't know the difference. Brushing teeth, brushing hair, washing faces, picking up toys all become less of a battle if you sing about it. Dancing helps, too. Ladybug and I frequently do the twist in front of the mirror during tooth brushing time.
5. They weren't exaggerating when they said children are parrots. My daughter added "oh, sit" to her favorite phrases for about two weeks last fall. Luckily, she really thought somebody said, "oh, sit", so she would use it in that context ("Mommy sit! Sit down! Oh, sit!"), but it was pretty clear what she'd really heard. Whoopsies! So watch that potty mouth, Sailor!
6. Don't correct their pronunciation on those precious little words. I promise they won't be in middle school and still saying "milp" instead of "milk" and "opee" for "open" (this happened in one weekend for my baby, and it was painful). Trust me, your heart will break when those words are gone.
7. It is never too soon to start teaching manners. If your kid can say "more", they can learn to say "more, please." Then you can pat yourself on the back for having a baby with better manners than most teenagers.
8. Impromptu dance parties are a completely valid excuse for lateness. At least once in awhile.
9. No matter how much of a monster they've been all day, all they have to do is fall asleep in your arms and you remember how perfectly marvelous they are. So let them fall asleep in your arms once and awhile, because you can't beat that feeling. And when they're awake, remember that that there is no such thing as too many hugs and kisses.
So there you have it. The sum of my wisdom after two years of this insane adventure. Every parent is different, so I would love to hear your tips and anecdotes in the comments. Good luck, folks! It's a jungle out there!