Last Friday, I had a rare lunch with my sister (aka Dr. B). I think it was our first one-on-one time since Mazzy was born.
Of course, the conversation steered it's way toward my daughter regardless of her absence. Particularly, since last week, I was at my wit's end over Mazzy's most recent behavior.
As I poured my heart out about our issues, it struck me how similar this conversation was to a conversation I would have had in my early twenties. You know, the conversation where you rattle off a litany of offenses made by your current boyfriend, and then the friend you have chosen to confide in has to decide whether to advocate giving the poor guy a chance or breaking up with the asshole?
My chief compliants about Mazzy, all of which reached epic proportions last week:
1) She doesn't respect me.
2) She thinks the world revolves around her.
3) She makes demands instead of asking nicely.
4) She does the same things over and over again even when she knows I don't like them.
5) She doesn't clean up after herself.
6) All she wants to do is sit on the couch and watch TV. Plus, she only wants to watch HER shows.
7) She sends mixed messages.
8) She expects me to wait on her hand and foot.
9) She doesn't return my affection as often as I would like.
10) She can be a total embarassment in public.
All of which would totally be grounds for dumping a guy on his ass.
My sister tried to explain that Mazzy is currently going through something called "the egocentric phase" of development and this is all totally normal. She also said that her elevated hostility was probably a response to two big changes we had recently implemented— stricter limits on TV time and cutting back on her milk intake. Apparently, when you attempt to modify your child's behavior, things almost always get worse before they better. In child psychology terms, it's known as "the extinction burst".
That all sounded fine but I was barely listening. I was too busy looking longingly over at some other woman's toddler at the next table.
"Look at that kid over there. Sitting still. Eating his lunch. Smiling at his mom. Don't I deserve a toddler like that??"
My sister did not give me the satisfaction of recommending a break-up. So, I went home to my daughter, to see what I could salvage of our relationship.
As soon as I walked in the door, Mazzy greeted me with a huge hug and kiss. But I was not fooled. I knew the drill— this is how they get you to stay for more abuse.
I decided to see how the weekend went before I made a decision I would regret.
Mazzy must have known something was up because she turned on the charm, acted like the perfect child and went along with everything I had planned.
Saturday morning, we went to the park and then split pancakes at our favorite coffeeshop. That afternoon, we went to the Farmer's Market, sampled the fresh produce and drank mint iced tea. At dinnertime, we went out for Italian and got gelato afterwards. Mazzy even traded me some of her chocolate for my hazelnut. We held hands everywhere we went, we engaged in actual conversations, we laughed at eachother's jokes— it was the kind of weekend that makes you remember why you fell in love with your kid to begin with.
According to my sister, this was all an indication that "the extinction burst" is over but I'm not entirely convinced. Either way, Mazzy and I are not breaking up. We're in it for the long haul.
Unless she starts acting like a two-year-old again.
Then I'm outta here.
The "Summer Fan Photo Album" will be posted this Friday. If you'd like to be included, please post a beach or pool picture of your kid with their first name on the Mommy Shorts Facebook Fanpage. What's a fan photo album? Here's the one I did for Valentine's Day.