Monday, August 18, 2008

Sweet Child of Mine

My daughter hates me. You read it right. She despises me. Spits on the ground that I walk on. Curses the day I was born, which is strange when you think about it.

She hates me. I'm convinced of it. That could be the only explanation for how she reacts, or doesn't react, towards me sometimes. The girl wants nothing to do with me. Hey, if I had a dollar for every girl who wanted nothing to do with me... I'd be a very rich man.

It's driving me to drink. It's driving me nuts. It's driving me into therapy. One day I am sure Penelope will herself be in therapy because of me. But I'm in need of therapy because of her. She can be as relentless as a windstorm. As subtle as a jackhammer. As quiet as a garbage truck. The tantrums, the not listening, the constant deployment of the word "no." Her refusal to say "yes" or "please." She can say "thank you," she can impersonate a lizard, she can even give you an enthusiastic high-five. So I have no doubt that she's capable of saying "yes" and "please." She's just tight-lipped about it. Give me a break, kid, you're not fooling anybody.

"She picks up on your mood. She's not going to respond when you're aggravated," says my wife, herself a bundle of frayed nerves but conveniently cloaked under a slipcover of patience and understanding. And therein lies the conundrum. I have zero patience, and I am a horrible faker. Penelope is very aggravating, and I can't mask my displeasure. I don't wear my emotions on my sleeve, I smear them smack on my face. You can tell in about 1.5 seconds what my mood is, just by looking at me. It's my kryptonite.

One day Penelope was cranky, and being difficult. Let's just come out and say it: she was being a genuine pain in the ass. I said something to her, or asked her to do something, and she ignored me. I repeated it, nicely, and she gave me a look. A face. Attitude. Like my presence, my existence, offended her completely. Are you kidding me? No... are you kidding me? This chick is giving me 'tude? Babytude? No way!

Then it dawned on me. She wasn't giving me a face. She was giving me my face! My aggravated, 'I will not tolerate insolence from you' face. The 'nothing you say or do will remotely snap me out of my mood let alone crack a smile' face. You know the face I'm talking about. HOLY CRAP! How the hell did that happen?!? Where did she learn that from (stupid question)? Better question: When did she pick up on that?

It made me realize I have to chill out. She's being a baby, and so am I.

This week, my wife is working 12-15 hour days/nights, so it's mainly me and Penelope. And on day one/night one, she made me realize how extraordinarily easy and awesome she is. True, she's a toddler. A walking, talking, running, screaming, biting, grabbing, slapping, demanding toddler. But she's the universal remote of babies, adapting to whatever components life throws at her. And that's why she's awesome and extraordinary.

Daddy has to take me to daycare? No problem. Daddy's picking me up too? No problem. We're going to A&P before we go home, even though I'm tired and hungry? OK. He's going to make me eat the vegetables I didn't eat at lunch? Alright. I have to feed myself my applesauce while daddy puts away the groceries? OK. We have to walk Luna before I go to bed? Let's do it! Now he's making me take a bath, even though I should have been in bed 15 minutes ago? Wow, he means business. AND he's still going to brush my teeth after my bottle? This guy doesn't play!

She still threw a fit when I dumped the water over her head to rinse her hair. And no, I did not clean her vagina. That's just creepy. She also tried to refuse her bottle, claiming it was too "hot." Now that she knows "hot," everything is hot. Even cold things. Instead of getting aggravated, I sat there, I talked to her, convinced her it wasn't hot. I did NOT give her the face. And she drank it. Goodnight, my angel.

When things start to turn sour, she inspires sweetness. She is the lemonade that we make from our lemons.

1 comment:

  1. I really have esp... For Jordan's 16th b-day I wrote all over it (and his psudo check) "Oh sweet Godson of Mine". I love music! And I love Penelope...she brings sunshine to every day;)

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