Monsters, Mood Swings and Terrible Twos
|November 23, 2013||Posted by Jennifer under Mommyhooddom|
My precious little Baby B turned two in October. Remember that movie The Exorcist? Yeaaaahh.
When I was younger, I had some Academy Award-winning mood swings myself. The time of day could set me off. I don’t know if it was my hormones or the fact that I couldn’t afford cable television, but when I was in my 20s, I could whip up a reason to be terse on a dime.
I have since mellowed. A lot. (If my husband makes a comment below, I will most likely delete it.)
I think it was just a matter of growing up, maturing, slamming the door on lady puberty and burning her house down that helped me.
I’ve become Mrs. Mellow Yellow now that I’ve settled in to my 40s. Of course, I did finally get AT&T U-verse.
It’s a good thing I didn’t have Baby B years ago. His “terrible twos” and my “terrible 20s” going head to head might have put one of us in a straight jacket… or at a minimum, gotten us a job with the WWE. Hey now, don’t automatically assume it would have been my name on the roster. My little 30-pound dynamo is sta-ro-ong!
For the past couple of months though, I have thought seriously about checking-in to a white padded room…on multiple occasions. And that’s a pretty bold statement coming from someone long past her mood swing years — but not quite over The Wonder Years season finale. I’m still working through that one.
Every day is a new adventure in Terrible Two Territory. Baby B is like a box of chocolates, to borrow from my good friend Forrest Gump. One minute, he’s the caramel. The next, raspberry cream (yucky face)!
Last week, Baby B and I went grocery shopping. Don’t laugh.
To my utter amazement, he was the picture of angelic sweetness. He stayed near motionless in the cart, didn’t reach for a single thing, maintained his inside voice and even chatted coyly with the butcher lady while I took my time THINKING about which kind of meat to get.
I was surprised because normally Xanax puts him to sleep. Just kidding.
It has no effect on him. Just kidding again. (I do not give my child Xanax, CPS!)
He was just in a good mood! He is such a darling when he’s in a good mood. It makes me want to buy him things.
To show my bottomless gratitude, I got him Sulley, one of the characters from the Disney movie, Monsters, Inc. The fluffy little guy is blue with purple spots, horns, claws and pointy teeth. Just what a two-year-old needs as a bedtime companion. But I don’t care who or what he brings to bed as long as he sleeps a couple of minutes every night. We all sleep in the same bed mind you: me, Baby B, now Sulley, a mama rubber ducky, her two babies, and a puppy dog from Aunt Melissa and Uncle Doug. Various books, Kleenexes and socks pop in from time to time.
The morning after we welcomed Sulley into our friendly neighborhood bed, I think the sun was up, but I was only slightly better than comatose when I heard, “Mama hold Sulley.”
I fumbled around and found Sulley. He was dead to the world in the upper left quadrant, right where I had left him the night before. I didn’t even have to open my eyes. “Here he is, baby,” I said as I plucked Sulley from his slumber.
The next thing I know, the child’s head does a complete 360 and I get blasted with, “NOOOOOO!!!!!”
Obviously I was holding Sulley wrong. Instead of holding him “like this,” I switched to holding him “like this” thinking that would solve whatever holding issue Baby B was having.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! Mama don’t do that,” he shrieked.
Geeze, somebody woke up on the wrong side of the bed!
“Ok, baby. How do you want me to hold Sulley?” I said, knowing good and well there may not even be a “right way” to hold Sulley.
Just then, Baby B snatched Sulley out of my deficient grasp, threw him at my head and said, “Sulley talk!”
I don’t ask any questions. I just do as I’m told. “Good morning, Baby B,” Sulley said in his deeper-than-mama voice as he bobbed his head back and forth.
“NOOOOOOOO!!!! Mama don’t do that!!!”
I could feel my pulse pick up a couple of beats. Nothing like starting the day off sprinting towards a moving target.
“What would you like me to do, my sweet boy?”
“Mama hoooooold Sulley.”
At that moment, I realized what was really going on. It was Groundhog Day! The movie, not the holiday. Determined to remain calm and in control, like a good mama is supposed to do, I rolled with it. I saw what happened to Bill Murray. No sense in trying to fight it.
I re-adjusted my grasp on Sulley.
This time, whatever I did seemed to pacify the newly hormonal child. Baby B was back to being his wonderfully delightful self.
For about three minutes.
By then I had made it to the potty. Baby B was hot on my heels, dragging Sulley towards my phone booth of a bathroom.
My heart swelled as he came teetering towards me on his morning legs looking all cute and sleepy and pink-cheeked in his too-hot fleece footie pajamas. I told myself it was going to be a good day after all, despite the brief conjuring we’d just experienced in the bed.
“Mama hold Sulley,” he said all yawny and soft.
“Just a minute sweet doll.”
Despite the fact that I’ve gotten pretty good at toileting while holding a menagerie of bath toys, hair brushes, board books, Leap Frog animals, and unspeakable items from the trash can, on this particular morning, I wanted a free hand.
“MAMA HOLD SULLEY!!”
“Ok, baby, just a second,” I said as I reached over to grab a wad of Northern Soft and Strong. Instead, I must have grabbed a handful of raspberry creams! Oh, no!!
“MAMA HOLD SULLEY!!!!!”
“Ok, baby, just a second.”
“MAMA HOLD SULLEY!!!!!”
“Ok, baby, just a second.”
“MAMA HOLD SULLEY!!!!!!!”
“Ok, baby, just a second.”
Yes, it was indeed Groundhog Day and I was stuck in two-year-old Punxsutawney hell!
Then came the FULL-ON neck twist complete with levitation, head bang into the sheetrock and body slam onto the tile floor.
Do you have any idea how loud a wailing two year old can be in a bathroom? I have never SEEN Metallica in concert, but I hear they WISH they could be so loud.
Ok, so by this time, both of my eyes were wide open. My pulse was racing and I could feel my blood pressure going up, up, up. And at my age, blood pressure is not something you take lightly, especially while sitting on the toilet. So I did what any loving mother of an out-of-control child would do to help him regain his composure.
I shut the door.
After a couple of minutes and what seemed like 12 lifetimes, he calmed down!
I thought to myself, there are only 6,890 more days until he and I can do shots together… legally. I can get us one day closer. I can do this!
Somehow, we made it out of the bathroom, down the hallway and into the kitchen. That’s about 18 feet, with no meltdowns. Awesome, I thought! It looked like it was going to be a great day!
The next thing I know, my darling little wide-eyed giggly boy says… no, demands, “Mama, hold you.”
Now I realize I’m not tasked with inspecting chemical weapons or refilling someone’s oxygen tank every morning, but I HAVE THINGS TO DO WHEN I GET UP.
Carrying around a 30-pound man-child while doing said morning mama chores is not the ideal way to start the day. I have what my OBGYN calls ‘advanced maternal age.’ And I have a bad back. There’s no spinal fluid or whatever it is that lubricates the discs in the morning. You gotta move around a bit first in order to get limbered up for a day of lifting and carrying around a two-year-old.
But, I didn’t dare say no! I was not ready for Mini-Me’s mood swing number three just yet.
“Up you go, sweet boy,” I said as I hoisted him onto my good hip, and off we went.
We got his day clothes out of the laundry room, changed his diaper, restocked the changing table, opened the curtains, made a sippy of juice, put my phone on the charger, threw away some trash, located the cat, summoned Sulley out of bed — that lazy beast– and started a grocery list.
Then, my left arm and what used to be discs L2 though L5 insisted I put him down.
Here we go again, I thought.
But no, he was cool. Whew! I got lucky, I must have plucked a caramel that time.
A few minutes later, “Mama come play with you.” Again, a directive, not a request. So demanding this little one.
“Ok, sweet boy. What toy would you like to play with?” I said as I tip-toed into the living room and took a seat just out of my future Cardinal’s strike zone.
“Mama hold Sulley.”
“Mama. Hold. Sulley!”
And then it hit me. Like. A. Lead. Pipe.
“Maaa-maaa hoooooold Sulllllleeyyyyy!!!”
A panic attack! I was having a panic attack!
Breathe, Jennifer. Just breathe… in and out. In and out, I told myself.
There, that’s good… that’s good.
What the… I hadn’t had a panic attack since the day we brought Baby B home from the hospital in his car seat made of barbed wire, which was the longest 15 minutes of my life at a sustained 120 decibels.
As I regained my breath, Baby B tossed his sippy cup into his toy box and looked at me with obvious anticipation as if to say, “Does this mean we’re going to the pharmacy?”
Ha, no kid, not yet at least. But I guess it does mean those mood swings I outgrew years ago — seems they’ve been replaced by panic attacks.
So, I guess being a mom will do that to you.
How did you deal with The Terrible Twos? Got any tips for me?