Love + Frustration = Parenting a Toddler

I had a great weekend, thanks for asking.  Despite the snafus on Friday, Saturday was my wife’s final birthday present, a full day to go out with friends, shop, and basically do what she wanted without a husband or child breathing down her neck.  Baby Harbat and I spent the day playing together.  In the morning we went with a friend to pick up Christmas trees.  BH and her friend ran at full speed through Home Depot, laughing and making unpredictable turns, whizzing past amused shoppers and narrowly missing carts loaded with sharp-edged lumber.  Getting two little girls and two Christmas trees in, and on, the car was no small feat.  But once we lashed the girls to the roof and buckled the trees into the carseats, it was smooth sailing.

In the afternoon BH and I made Scottish shortbread from an old family recipe.  She took her first bite of dough, a smile spread across her face and she said, “I LIKE that!”  She helped me decorate and bake it, then the King and Princess of Casa Soutowood decreed that Shortbread is Delicious.  Later on, I made a fire in the fireplace and she helped me blow on the embers to stoke it up, her little cheeks puffing with earnestness.  At one point before dinner she rummaged through the DVDs saying, “Miss Julie?  Miss Julie?”  When I picked up the Sound of Music DVD, she screamed with delight.  Somehow she knew Julie Andrews’ name, and was delighted to watch the first half hour of the movie, asking me, “Where’s Miss Julie?” each time Julie was off screen.

Then came dinner.  Mind you, I was in a great mood having spent a fantastic and tantrum-free day with my daughter.  I made her fried tofu and she ate most of it, then began Evening Flailing.  This is an activity that involves thrashing her arms from side to side in an attempt to bring everything around her to ruination.  It works surprisingly well, clearing a table of food, dishes, magazines, placemats.  In seconds she’d applied soy sauce and tofu to every surface in the kitchen, and spit food on me.  And just like that my love turned to boiling point frustration.  That was when my wife came home and took over.  I checked in on them during reading time and BH was back in adorable mode, and I gave her hugs and kisses before bed. 

This is what it’s like to have a toddler.  You love them with all your heart and in the same moment are ready to put your head through a wall from frustration.  Then you’re back to heart-bursting love.  As a child’s emotions run like a steep-pitched roller coaster, so must you ride along with them.

Sunday was the day to decorate the tree, which meant BH found a little paper gift bag and proceeded to pack it full of teddy bear ornaments.  Our requests to help decorate the tree were met with her favorite phrase, “No no no!”  She took her paper bag of bears to bed with her, and to school this morning as well.  The tree is still bare of ornaments.  See what I did there?  Ahhhhh….good times.


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1 comment
  1. Keren said:

    Oh yea, I can completely relate to the love + frustration of raising kids.. But like an anything is life, maybe we need the lows to appreciate the highs?… Na. It would have been so much easier if it was smooth ride..
    I guess kids test you all the time.. Even when they aren't really trying.
    Hope you get to decorate the tree soon..

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