Last week you turned thirty-eight months old. Each month when I attempt to gather fragments that have occurred since my last letter to you, I am amazed at how much one can change in such a short period of time. This month has been turbulent, bringing out some aspects of your character that I just haven’t witnessed before. I sit here thinking how blissful life would be if I had still not witnessed them, but I don’t have that luxury. We have graduated to the knock-down, drag-out tantrum phase. Historically, you’d get a little upset from time to time, bordering on a mini-fit on occasion. I was successful at diverting those tantrums, or reducing their magnitude. In fact, I would have considered myself an expert in this area, certainly worthy of a prestigious award of some type. Just to prove that I am master of nothing, you decided to major in tantrums this month.
In reality, I can relate to tantrums. There are many times in life when nothing feels more appealing than a gigantic tantrum. How I would love to kick and scream at work when things just don’t go right. How I would love to curse obscenities at the current state of our economy and all of the injustices inflicted upon decent, hardworking friends. However, your tantrums don’t seek to right any wrongs, they simply defy logic and reason without fail. I think you broke a record one morning this week with a tantrum ensuing because I didn’t turn the water on quite correctly. The right way eluded me … the only apparent incorrect way whichever one I was currently practicing in an attempt to divert the massacre of my eardrums. This was followed closely by a second tantrum after I failed to hold you and let you stare at the kitchen counter for hours on end while you repeatedly asked me to identify the different objects on it. The movie is still a movie, the book is still a book, and my purse is still a purse. Despite that educational tutorial, you proceeded to wail like I was beheading beloved Baby Kate when I decided that we had been through the diatribe long enough.
These tantrums upset your world, creating a perfect imbalance in all that you wish to control. It astonishes me to witness you reacting with such uncontrollable fury. Your face turns red, enormous tears well up in your eyes, and you scream. Then you scream and scream and scream some more. I have to fight the urge to laugh at the absurdity of the situation. Instead I try to see things from your perspective, empathizing with how frustrating it must be to have such little power over your world. I must admit that trying to see things from that perspective is challenging. It is akin to trying to see the positives in a Bin Laden, a sewer leak, or the addition of 10 pounds to your waistline. I suddenly realized that THIS must be the stage those others parents spoke of. A stage we’ve only glimpsed momentarily in months past. A stage that better be vacated quickly, or the thought of ever having a second child will likely be removed from the list of CRAZY THINGS I MIGHT CONTEMPLATE AT A FUTURE DATE.
Amazingly enough, at the same time you’ve signed on to compete for the title of World Championship Tantrum Thrower, you have also discovered and embraced your affectionate side. While I know it has always been there, I simply think you never slowed down enough to find it. You were never one to want to be held or cuddled. Not because you weren’t sweet in your own way, but your mind was all PUT ME DOWN WOMAN, I’VE GOT THINGS TO EXPLORE. I don’t think it is a coincidence that while you are branching out, pushing boundaries, and fighting for your independence, you are equally cautious, seeking comfort, security, and familiarity with us. Nightly you request that I snuggle with you and I happily oblige. Realistically, I know that like every other phase you enter, this will be gone as quickly as it arrived. Before I know it, you’ll be rolling your eyes at me and telling me to get out of your room and I’ll certainly be reminding you that you used to force me to cuddle with you every night before you went to bed.
I am sure I am forgetting some of the highlights of the month. They are lost in between the fragmented, repressed memories of the tantrums and the heartwarming cuddles we share every night. Life doesn’t get any better than this.