Power Struggle

Mila has been being a jerk about sleep for a while now. When I say she's being a jerk, what I mean is that she sleeps great ... as long as she's touching me. Which, there are much worse problems to have. MUCH worse. Though, the fact that there are worse things doesn't make me like her nightly 1:00 am call. It's like clockwork -- she sleeps fine in her own bed until 1:00, and then it's done. She wants her mommy. NOW.

I can deal with that fine, in part because she makes up for it by staying asleep until somebody physically wakes her up. Every day Alexis barges in, nudges her sister awake, and we continue on. It's delightful that way because toddlers and showers don't mix.

Besides, it's better if I manage to take a shower before I have to act like an adult who is responsible for other humans. MUCH better.

Have I mentioned that I super like that I wake up before Mila every day? Because I SUPER like it.

Last night a miracle happened -- Mila went to sleep without a battle, she stayed asleep without a battle, and she STAYED IN HER OWN BED HUZZAH! I got like five straight hours of sleep, which hasn't happened in a looooong time. It was great! Amazing!

And then I walked down the hall to grab a towel so I could take a shower.

Mila's bedroom is across from the closet. At OH SO EARLY o'clock, I crept down that hall and glanced up to find a pair of blue eyes laser pointed at me.

We had a stare off.

Mila didn't make so much as a peep. She just stared at me. She bored a hole in my soul, as if challenging my very being. Her eyes dared me to do the right thing, except that I didn't know what the right thing was. Should I walk away and pretend I had no idea she saw me? Should I just stand there until she was distracted by something shiny? Should I throw something shiny at her?

I had no idea.

So we stared at each other.

And stared.

And stared.

I finally broke. The laser beam eyes grabbed hold of my hair and yanked me towards Mila and I picked her up because FINE, YOU WIN, CHILD.

It wasn't until we were a solid three minutes into our stare-down and until Mila was safely in my arms that she broke the silence.

"Good job, mommy."

I'm so screwed.



But When Can I Have the Cookie?

Have I mentioned that I'm loving Almost Two? Seriously, I am. I loved Two with Alexis and we're on track for a delightful year with Mila.

My favorite thing about loving age two is that other people who have two year-olds think I'm nuts. They go on about how frustrating the tantrums are and how hard it is to get a two year-old to listen and HAHAHAHAHA. I've seen what comes at the end of two. This is a magical and easy time.

No. Really. It is. And that's not a threat; it's reality. Three is the Beastly Age and then there is the tween years followed by the teen years and YOU GUYS. Everything is simple when you can pick up an out-of-control kid and walk away from the situation.

I think there are two tricks to surviving two. The first one is to take a step back and see tantrums for what they are. What they are is HILARIOUS. How fun is it to watch humans overreact? Let's say a toddler asks for cheese. There's a 50/50 chance that if you hand that toddler some cheese, they will completely lose it because HOW DARE YOU GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT. You have to admit it's fun. BECAUSE IT IS.

The other trick is to realize that there is no point in saying, "No."

Wait. What?


Follow me here for a second ... if I put a cookie on the table next to you and then I tell you that you can't have that cookie, what are you going to think about for the next hour? How badly are you going to want that cookie? What happens if every time you take a step towards the cookie, someone tells you, "No?"

Everything in life is like a cookie on a table when you're a toddler. They want everything because everything is new and awesome and when you say "No," what you're really doing is teasing the kid with a delicious cookie. You're waving it in their face and making everything terrible.

(Are you still thinking about that cookie? Because I am. All it takes is telling me I can't have something.)

Instead of saying "No," say "Yes." It works like MAGIC a lot of the time. Let's say, hypothetically, that there was a nearly two year-old trying to put hemorrhoid cream on her sister's toothbrush (hypothetically, of course). You can say "NOOOOO!" or you can say, "Where's the puppy?"

"Yes, you can go look for the puppy!" is way better than "No, you can't make me puke" when you're two.

(The sister's toothbrush and hemorrhoid cream thing didn't actually happen. I mean, it wasn't her sister's toothbrush ... AHEM.)

We've reached the exact level of toddlerhood where this "Yes" business works really well. "Stop playing with knives" becomes, "Can you close the drawer?" "You're never having another piece of candy again" becomes "How about some delicious blueberries?" "Lighters are not for toddlers" becomes "Do you want to watch mommy burn a bunch of stuff?"

Yes! All of the yes! It's so much easier living a life with yes.

Which leads me to a question ... do you think this yes business would work with a grown-up? Because if so, I've got some work to do.





Carving a New Corner with Happy

While the calendar says there are three weeks left in the school year, my gut says the learning is done. Between field and track days, field trips, and all of the performances, there's no way Alexis has done any serious mathing or sciencing lately.

It's cool, though. I'm enjoying the concerts and ... whatever that thing is that happened today. I'm not entirely sure how to explain it, but it involved a lot of fourth graders reciting and acting out things. It was delightful, as these things tend to be. It was made even more delightful because HI, MILA.

The thing about a band concert is that it's easy to sit front and center with a toddler. A lot is happening, so she's entertained. And when she's not? It's okay. She can't possibly raise her volume to a level that overwhelms the trumpet section.

Spoken word, though. Oh, a toddler can out-volume that. Easily.

And, thus, the sitting and watching Alexis recite words happened from a hallway because I am not crazy enough to try to keep Mila muzzled and still. There is not enough duct tape in this world. I was happier standing at the wings, Mila was better off, and all of the kids were great.

As enjoyable as the performance was, it was the moments leaving the performance that were notable. It wasn't that anything particularly amazing happened -- it was very much so a little thing that happens often. But it's one of those little things that I want to carve into the walls in the corners of my brain because someday I'll want to run my fingers over those carvings as I look back and smile.

Mila, with Alexis on one side and me on the other, was happily holding hands as we walked through the parking lot. We're fortunate that she's willing to do that because when she's not physically restrained, she's running at top speed. As much as toddling quickly across a parking lot is cute, it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine it ending badly because have you met a toddler? They have no respect for cars. Zero. Zip. Zilch. They'll run in front of a car and they'll do it while laughing because life is fun when you're little.

Life is fun when you're holding hands with your sister and mom, too. It's especially fun when they carefully swing you over the cracks in the road. With each little swing, Mila giggled. There was giggle after giggle after giggle and it really is very easy to make her happy these days.

It was the perfect 30 seconds.