"I DO IT!" (Or, the Call of the Toddler in Captivity)

Portrait of a Tantrum

"I DO IT!" I hear that about 874 times a day. It doesn't matter if letting her "do it" causes a small task to take six weeks. She is gonna do it come hell or high water. This brings back memories for my mom, who says that my middle sister was always yelling, "I DO IT BY MESELF!" Though they don't share any of the same DNA, my kid seems to have a lot in common with her headstrong auntie.

One of our big challenges lately is that she wants to wear a Pull-up instead of a diaper. Her Pull-ups have Disney (Motto: you may as well just send us a check because we are gonna get your money anyway) princesses on the front. There is also a smattering of colorful flowers in the crotch area, and the flowers go away when the kid pees in the Pull-up. The flowers are usually history within seconds, which tells you how well the potty-training is going.

Not only does she want to wear a Pull-up, she insists on donning it herself. This always always always leads to a tantrum. First she shoves both legs through the same hole. Then the sides of the Pull-up open (the sides have velcro closures, meant for "emergencies"). Now there is virtually no hope of her getting it on herself. What happens next is that she throws herself on the floor and flails around, screaming, "NO! I DO IT!" We always wonder which is worse: helping her (which would momentarily cause the tantrum to spike to a new height) or letting her continue to scream and wave the mangled Pull-up around. It's definitely a lose-lose proposition.

Eventually the overpriced Pull-up is essentially ruined and there is virtually no hope of getting it on her. But every so often, she does manage to get it on all by herself. And then the pretty flowers fade away, much like the sense of order that once prevailed in my life.

So, we do our best to let her do it, whatever "it" may be at any given time. We smile tightly when she asks for juice and then, upon receiving the requested refreshment, wails, "No! Milk!" She fights me tooth and nail when it comes time to brush her teeth, but then hugs me around the neck and says, "I love you, Mama." Her job description requires her to be capricious and irrational. And my job description requires me to ride the waves of toddlerdom (we've checked and the hospital where she was born does NOT have a lenient return policy, so persevere we must). And maybe there is some little part of me that fears that the day when my daughter can "do it" for herself is going to come much too soon. For now, just don't help her whatever you do. I do feel sorry for the well-intended young man will will try to pull out her chair for her at a restaurant someday . . .

EDIT: After posting this blog entry I had to participate in a board meeting via conference call. I'm on the board of directors for a national rescue association. P is working, so I tried my best to keep the kid quiet while I participated in the conference call. In response to my "please be quiet so Mama can listen on the phone" plea, she did the following: pulled out a maraca, pulled out a tambourine, pulled out some sort of bells-on-a-stick instrument (I can't believe we actually bought that for her), set up her train and turned it on so that it choo-chooed back and forth across the track, turned on a Pingu video, and flushed the toilet about 18 times.


Tracy said…
I do not recall giving birth to twins, but I do believe our daughters were separated at birth! I too get the request for whatever I didn't fill her cup with, the "I do it!" argument and the making as much noise as humanly possible scenario. I feel your pain. The twos are so fun, aren't they?

Tracy (a BBC mom)
Mary said…
That's funny, well, I mean not really but.... That reminded me of Austin tonight. My doc finally called me back and how you like to have quiet to ask all the questions you want to Austin starts whining at me like he does occassionally when he wants to play and I ignore him. I tried giving him dirty looks but it didn't work!;)

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