They know when we are weak. They sense it. They smell it. Their instincts hone in and they know their mission. Make mommy crack.
I shouldn’t really say they. I’m not referring to both of my lovely daughters. No Strawberry was listening to me with the utmost grace. It was Buttercup in all her terrible two-year-old toddler glory. She is well on her way to three so you could say she is an expert at these two-year-old shenanigans.
We had concert tickets to see Nada Surf but I had come down with the flu. We cancelled the sitter and Colin left me alone with the girls. I can barely move from the horizontal position. Every bone in my body throbs with intense awareness. My mind is so foggy that I see clouds in my living room. That could be the reason I agree to let them watch my nemesis, the My Little Pony video. Pinkypie shoots rainbows from her butt to save Unicornicopia. Good times.
The video ends and I turn the TV off. The lights are dimmed. Colin had suggested that they would easily fall asleep on the sofa while I surf the web. That would be easy like climbing Mount Everest, right?
Buttercup gets up from her chair and goes to the corner. “I don’t like you Mommy.” She hides behind the furniture and starts pretend sobbing looking for a reaction. I take Strawberry to the kitchen to wash the unknown, unnerving rash that has recently broken out on her face. Buttercup continues to throw her tantrum. I tell her we are going upstairs and that she can come too. She however is enjoying her emotional release behind the furniture and decides to carry on.
I tuck Strawberry in bed. I make my way back down to the screaming banshee in the living room. I lure Buttercup out with her favourite thing in the whole world. Orange juice. The crying turns into whimpering. I know that the juice is not a great idea being that she’s had an upset stomach but it was the only thing she’d fall for. She tells me that she’s made another poo. “A Big One.” She doesn’t want to go upstairs because that means bedtime and there is no tricking her. She’s back to full on scream crying as I carry her up the stairs. As we go by Strawberry’s room I can see that she’s already fallen asleep. The protesting wails do not disturb her.
I clean Buttercup and give her new pajamas. I put her in her bed and let her cry. You’d think a few minutes of this would tire her out and she would be fast on her way to la la land but no.
Before the neighbors call child services I go back in. I try to calm her down and I rock her and sing and she thankfully turns down the volume on her sobbing. I see that there is no way that she’s going to sleep any time soon. I know that there is no fight in me so I gather up her most loved stuffed animals her pink kitty Curtsy and her panda bear Shanghai. I take the orange juice that she has not yet sipped and we head downstairs. Normally at this point we would curl up on my bed where I’d fall asleep before her but I figure that my room is infected with one million flu germs and the last thing that I need is for this bug to infect my whole family.
I resign that we will watch some television. Hopefully all the hooking up that’s going on at Paradise Hotel won’t scar her for life. Buttercup is restless and she’s fidgeting around. She’s singing commercials. Pretty much she’s doing everything she can to keep herself awake. I’m fading. My patience has disintegrated. I need sleep but what do I do with this ball of energy? She tells me that she’s made another big one. I carry her back upstairs. I wipe away the explosion; a new diaper; a third pair of pajamas. I tell her to stay in her bed and I’ll be right back.
I take my time in the kitchen. I pour myself a glass of apple juice and took some nighttime cold pills. I can hear Buttercup calling for me. Every other child in the entire world has been asleep for hours. I go back to her.
I hold her and I sing a few lullabies. I tuck her into her toddler bed. I snuggle her stuffed animals in next to her. She throws them out of her bed. Buttercup begs to go back downstairs. I insist that it’s bedtime and that mommy is going to bed too. She asks for daddy. Finally she shows the first signs that she might be ready for slumber. I leave her cooing and go to my room where I fall into a deep sleep myself.