17 March 2011

Terrible Tantrums

For quite a while now, I've been the parent of a rather perfect toddler. I really, rather smugly, thought that we were going to escape the terrible threes. We made it past two without the tantrums typical of the terrible age and I thought that, perhaps, my child was immune. Clearly, my stellar parenting had gotten my daughter through her toddler years with her tantrums in check. We could make it through the toy aisles of Target without her insisting that she "get something" and if I had to tell her that she couldn't do something, my "no" was not met with a meltdown. I was mentally patting myself on the back and fist pumping simultaneously. I've seen toddlers melt down and although mine occasionally threw a fit or misbehaved, my stern reminder to behave or the occasional timeout had done the trick to keep her in line.

As we rounded past three and a half and steadily progressed toward four, I thought we were in the clear. However, this week, EC has decided that she, not I, is in charge and what I say has been met with willful defiance and, well, tantrums. Clearly, I am not a superior parent, my daughter just waited a little longer to drop the misbehavior bomb.

And this defiant little girl is pushing all my buttons. When I tell her to stop doing something, she looks at me, considers what is about to happen and - drum roll please - does it anyway! I have been struggling with keeping my own tantrum in check all week. Finally, today, when I dropped her off at her art and sports class, I have to admit that I was a little happy to leave her in someone else's capable hands for a few hours. And LR and I headed off to the park for some quality time without The Defiant One. Little did I know that while we were sliding down the slide repeatedly that EC was sharing her defiance with her teachers. I came to pick her up and was greeted with the information that EC had trouble listening in both of her classes today. I was a little relieved that it wasn't just me she was acting out against, but mostly, I was sure that, somehow, I had to find a way to get this under control.

I'm pretty sure I'm being tested. Its like the big exam at the end of the toddler phase. She's about to be finished with toddlerhood and this is her last hurrah. I'm just hoping that it doesn't last until she actually turns four. If I have to suffer through five months of this, I will require a lobotomy. Or at the very least, a spa weekend. Nightly bottle of wine, perhaps?

Here's hoping that her stint in the terrible ages is brief and that I pass the test. I'm not sure what happens if I don't - do they just revoke my right to be a parent or am I forced to live with a defiant toddler forever?

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