Maybe I didn’t notice sooner because I’m just emerging from the fog that is the beginning months with a newborn (god love it when the clock strikes 16 plus weeks with a baby), maybe it’s that I’ve just been wrapped up in working and figuring out how to focus on two kids instead of just one after a long day, maybe I’m starting to catch up on my sleep, or maybe it really has just happened, but something hit me like a ton of bricks last night.
DD1 is suddenly CIVILIZED.
Now – let’s not get carried away – of course she still cries and argues about dumb shit. But then again, so do I.
But I mean – as an example – all of a sudden I can put her coat on and none of the following scenarios happen:
1. Kicking, screaming, refusal to put her coat on
2. Insistence that daddy put her coat on, then no, mommy put the coat on, then no, not going to put the coat on (all the while throwing a fit)
3. Negotiation that she does not need to wear a coat but in fact, she just needs a sweater
4. Running in horror the other way, covering her face, as if her eyes are burning for the hideous sight of that ugliest coat on the face of the planet.
5. Or my favorite of all – all of the above scenarios happening one after the other resulting in me questioning my sanity, why I had one child let alone two, and do I really need to be going out to whatever the destiation may be – is it really worth the effort.
Suddenly, I can just tell her it’s time to put her coat on and sometimes, she even just does it herself. All of a sudden, I don’t have to think ahead and quickly hide the other coats that – should they catch her eye – might spur on a huge fit or negotiation that she must wear – even if they aren’t weather appropriate.
This example of the coat can extend into anything else you can thing of, any banal part of your day that you might otherwise take for granted if you don’t have a 2 or 3 year old living in your house- none of these things are banal or unmentionable when you are 2, and in our case, for the first four months of 3 – every step of the way is an ordeal, a form of torture, warranting a fit or a negotiation.
But all of a sudden, it’s like she’s a bona fide member of civilization. Brush her teeth? Sure! That sounds like fun. Get dressed! You betcha – she even does most of it herself.
And perhaps my proudest moment in parenthood – pooping on the potty AT SCHOOL. Perhaps crapping oneself in front of peers really isn’t the way to become most popular? Could it be true? And what has my life’s work amounted to thus far if this is – truly and genuinely – my proudest moment in parenthood to date – underpants that haven’t been soiled.
It’s as if the devil’s spawn has been replaced with Helpful Hannah – and we are running a child labor camp and totally proud of it – load the dishwasher? Sure – DD1 will do it. Help make the coffee – she can’t come around fast enough. Need something to go in the trash? Hand it to DD1. Have a poopie diaper from baby that needs to be tossed – call on Helpful Hannah.
Suddenly, I”m thinking – I can really get on board with this age. Or am I so beat down and tired from the horror scene of the 2s and the beginning of the 3s that I think the tiniest thing warrants her to be declared the next Emily Post?
Who knows. Now, don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t expect it to last. But it has been so long since we could do anything peacefully in the house that it is just so nice and shocking. Maybe all the hard work and the discipline and the time outs and the crying in secret on my end – has actually started to work?
Who the hell knows. But even just one day of peace and cooperation is like winning the parenthood lottery in my book.