Yes this is my life right now. I had only ever heard of the terrible two’s so when my daughter was essentially Gandhi baby through her second year, I thought, Whew! I am so glad I never have to deal with that. Thus reinforcing the thinking that MY daughter was of course perfect. NOT! Guess what I got? The Terrible Three’s! Now in my totally biased opinion, the Terrible Three’s are way worse! Just think about it, my daughter is bigger, taller, heavier, more articulate and has one year’s extra rage! Or as us actors like to call it, Passion!
I now have an intimate knowledge of the three-year-old meltdown. It could be at any time, anywhere, and about pretty much ANYTHING! And to be totally honest it usually startles the crap out of me. Why? Because I thought my daughter was perfect, remember? But I digress. These tantrums also startle me because often they are over the most ridiculous thing that I never saw coming. The first time was about leggings. Oh yes, you know those diabolical things! Leggings! Apparently, they need to be just perfect. What makes perfect leggings? I don’t know. But apparently my daughter does.
Here’s how it went for me. I let Luna Marie pick out her clothes, which she does every morning, and honestly she almost has better taste than I do (I said almost).
So one morning, we were late and she picks her outfit and apparently I rushed her and I didn’t allow the “proper” amount of time for her “process” but she picked it, it was cute, so I figured everyone was happy and we could move on. Then, I continue to my “process” to scramble and collect the three hundred things I need to bring or pack to get to our “play date”. And right as we are about to go out the door while I am loaded up like a frikkin’ donkey, I hear this tiny voice behind me that says “I don’t like these leggings.” I stop. I turn around and halfway across the room, frozen stiff and rooted to the ground unable to make the lengthy cross to me and out the door, there stands Luna Marie. At this point I’m confused. Then I ask, “What did you say, Sunshine?” And her response is a firm, “I said, I don’t like these leggings,, they are not beautiful.” I am perplexed. I stammer and say, “Um,,, they look beautiful to me.” She doesn’t budge and she doesn’t look convinced. This is where I gently remind her that she picked them. I also remind her we’re running late so we have to go. Remember I am still loaded up with three hundred things and they are starting to get heavy. I am now sweating. At that moment I see Luna Marie’s bottom lip start to quiver. I think to myself, uh-oh. And then she takes a huge breath in, leans her head back and KABOOM! She starts wailing! I am frozen in my spot. It has to be the most dramatic performance I have ever seen in my life and I’m an actress. I have seen plenty. Luna Marie’s performance is so over the top I almost start to laugh. BUT I DON’T! (Otherwise I might as well start saving up for her therapy as an adult now). All I can think is, “Seriously, over leggings?” She’s worn these “not beautiful ones” like 20 times before. I drop all my stuff. I realize that this might take a while. So now the sweaty donkey (me) must transform into a therapist. I get down on one knee, I hug her, I give compassion, but then, I gently remind her that she picked them, she had a choice and they are perfectly good leggings. I also remind her that we are late so we have to go. This perfectly reasonable and logical line of thinking does not work at all.
She is still wailing. I am mean like inconsolable, red face, snot dripping everywhere… like a mini mental breakdown,, and I am still sweating. I take a breath, I gently grab that little hand, pick up all my crap and try to load us into the car. And miraculously we finally make it to our play date. But, all through the drive I have to hear “These leggings are not my favorite.” I kid you not, this went on all day long! I think I must have explained about choices and the consequences of those choices (which leggings to wear) about 40 times. Secretly I thought, “S**t… I just should have quickly changed them.” I mean I wanted her to be happy. What mom doesn’t want their kid to be happy? But I remembered that I once heard “If you always give in to the tantrum you are setting yourself up for many, many, and I stress many more battles for control over every day little things.” Of course I hated that I remembered hearing this or reading it in one of my child rearing books! It was easier to just give in, but I didn’t. I took a breath and stayed strong. It was horrible, but I did it.
I have to point out that I love my daughter’s determination and conviction. Oh yes, and her passion! But some days I wish she would just put a cork in it.
I just want you to know that the end result of this whole drama, is that my daughter now knows when we’re in a hurry, she better pick the most FABULOUS thing in her closet because she’s going to have to wear it all damned day… even if it kills me!