You never know what's coming. Every day truly is an adventure. There certainly is a surprise every minute. Parenthood. Fatherhood. Childhood. It's impossible to predict.
When we walk through that door, we have no idea what state of mind Penelope will currently occupy. Good or bad, the answer will determine how enjoyable - or not - the remainder of our waking hours will be.
When I realized this anomaly during a particularly volatile week that had more ups and downs than a stressful day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange, I shared my revelation with my wife. "This must be what it's like to live with me," I admitted, exhausted after finally wrestling Penelope to bed following a series of tantrums where even the most mundane and routine activities seemed to annoy her to the point of breakdown. "Thanks for noticing... after 12 years," she deadpanned. "Now I have two of you."
That's why they make you take vows, my dear! For better or worse.
How is it that my sweet, angelic little girl can turn into such an impossible demon just because she doesn't want to brush her teeth, or wants to brush her teeth herself, or wants mommy to brush her teeth? Not to disparage those with mental disabilities, but this must be what it's like to live with an insane person. Flipping out for no apparent reason. Going off the deep end because she wants to wear an Ernie diaper and all we have are Cookie Monster and Zoe. Seriously? You're going to throw a fit over the cartoon character you prefer to piss on? What is wrong with you? Who does that? Honestly, who throws a shoe (random Austin Powers reference)?
This is what we're dealing with. But in the interest of full disclosure, Penelope's good moods far outnumber her bad ones. It's just that the bad ones are so traumatizing to her parents - her father - that several vasectomies have already been scheduled then subsequently cancelled. For every cherubic "Thank you, daddy" there is a guttural, demonic "Nooooo" that conjures haunting reminders of Linda Blair in The Exorcist. For every contagious giggle, there is a blood-curdling scream. And for every inspiring attempt at a somersault, there is an angry head-first, screaming belly flop onto her bean bag chair, usually motivated by something as simple as the denial of a cookie before dinner.
Why? What have we done to deserve this? What are we doing so wrong to torture this child?
She's two. And, from what I've heard, those twos tend to be terrible. But her? Terrible? Not so much. If this is her best shot, we can take it. It may not be pretty at times. But those moods are worth all of the other times she makes you realize why cancelling that vasectomy was the best move you've made since asking her pretty mom to marry you.