Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Monster, Inc.

It’s been a week since we got back from our trip to Malaysia, and things are finally status quo around here. I came home to packages from Amazon.com on my front porch (online shopping, how I love thee), a soup spoon under the rug and a little girl attached to my body. Well, almost back to normal - that last part is new. I think Little Miss is still in a jet lag funk – or so I hope. At least I know that will eventually fade. She has lately been incredibly needy and clingy, wanting to always be in the same room as us or to be picked up every other minute even though prior to the trip she was perfectly capable of being completely independent. Sometimes overly so.

She has also been displaying more aggressive behavior, grabbing toys from playmates and pushing them, and the burgeoning temper tantrums - where did those come from?! Surely jet lag can’t be blamed for all of these…can it? (Do you hear the wistfulness - or is that sheer desperation - in my voice?) She has asked for her paati (although she says "taat-is" - close enough) a few times so perhaps she is missing my mom and is acting out because of it? How about her molars? They must be the culprit.

This is all very worrying (other than for obvious reasons) because for the first time, I actually wasn’t looking forward to coming home from work to her. Since I only see her from 5pm to 7pm on weekdays, I selfishly only want quality time together, but instead of Kodak moments, I get the short fuse and the tears. It's also the witching hour, where kids (even adults!) are at their crabbiest, whether from hunger or exhaustion. Lucky me. 

Frankly, I’m not sure how to deal with this personality change. I’ve read that they go through phases, and I’ve seen it happen with her, such as her cheese and peas days. Now she’s back to devouring nearly everything in sight, and that is promising. I had it pretty easy with her as an infant, so is this erratic behavior my retribution? Can parents never just have a proverbial walk in the park with their kids? How can someone so cute be so annoying too? And yes, I did just say that. 

I realize that just because I love my daughter (and I really do, I swear), it doesn't mean I am always going to like her. I just thought that would happen later, like when she hits the big T-E-E-N, not when she's still cute and cuddly. Does that make me a bad mom? Maybe.

Or maybe it’s only human that we can’t deal sometimes. That we say things like “why can’t you be just like that kid?”. That we stress about our kids behaving better, saying more, sleeping well, eating less, (insert wishlist here). That after coming home from a full day’s work to a screaming child, we want to walk right back out that door again. That we can’t always decipher our kids’ needs, and it frustrates everyone. That we want to hide when our little angel turns into a little monster in public. Or even at home. That we possess an inherent flaw that constantly doubts our own abilities as parents. That we flourish and flounder all at once. That we go into stasis just to survive the moment, the hour, the day.

Or maybe I’m just crazy. 


  1. "I realize that just because I love my daughter, I am not always going to like her." I think that's the biggest gift you can give her. Whatever she's trying to work through in her little toddler way, she needs you to be firm, set boundaries, push back, and give hugs. It's a terrible, wonderful job that definitely sometimes means you'd rather walk right back out the door! =>

  2. Love this post .. very honest and brave if you. I am sure every mom feels this though... and no you are not horrid for feeling this.
    Lots of hugs for you <3

  3. Definitely with you on this one! haha, your bad conscience makes me smirk! So cute! AND totally normal. How many times have I felt that way (and still do, cuz they're only 3,6, and 9...
    Is she around 2? Did you ever get a grab on Dr. Spock (no, not from Star Trek, a famous pediatrician) who gave some (ok, a lot) of really helpful advice to parents asking exactly those questions (and many more).

    good luck! lol!

  4. Hey friend, we travel a lot from Iowa to California and back... I know it's not Malaysia-- but, we find it takes double the time we were away from home to get our kids (4 and 2) back to normal.

    Thinking of you, thank you for your honesty. Our house was similar last night, tooo many things went wrong to even post about (:

    Hugs (the non-whiny, non-clingy kind)!

  5. Stacia, thank you for your sage advice. It is a "terrible, wonderful job" - I couldn't agree more.

    Al, your kind words help more than you know. I learned that honesty and bravery also bring me hugs. And I definitely could use a few now.

    Anneke, My Guy the Trekkie would get a kick out of "Dr Spock" so off to Amazon I go to surprise him with this. And props to you for keeping it together for as long as you have, mom of three boys!

    Mary, any travel is hard on kids, as I have learned myself, so now I'm looking for willing takers for our next couples-only retreat. :)

  6. All of your questions here resonate with me so clearly. Husband and I have two boys - 10 months and 2 1/2 - and we find ourselves asking, at least once a day, "Maybe it's his teeth?" in the same wistful, wishing way you wonder about Little Miss and her moods.

    I suppose it is our lot as parents to take the bad with the good, and to keep right on loving them even on those days when, as you say, we don't like them all that much.

  7. Oh yes, we are knee-deep in these feelings too! We're having a hard time with our 4 year old boy right now. So much so, that when we saw a sign advertising "positive family interaction" counseling the other day we looked at each other and asked, "Should we sign up?" Fortunately, and unfortunately, these are normal bumps in the road. I think the hardest thing is cutting our kids and ourselves some slack when we most need it.
    As for your little monster, lucky for her, and for you, she is so darling and that cuteness can go a long way on the toughest days!

  8. Thank you Kristen. I have to say, their teeth may be the culprit until they get all 20, and then we get to do it all over again when they get the next set in. Some of us are still dealing with our wisdom teeth, so it looks like we have plenty of years ahead of us to blame their pearly whites! Or yellows, depending on how stringent we are on hygiene.

    Kerry, that is very reassuring, thank you. And you are so right; kids are cute for a reason. And you and I know now what that is since our kids are still here by our sides.

  9. JT, I think expectations can make things extra difficult too. It is so normal for you to want sweet, quality time with her in your 2-hour slot. But she is probably tired, hungry, and has missed you dearly. Sometimes kids need to push hard at their Mama's to make sure they are still loved.
    Plus, toddlers? Weird creatures.

  10. Rachel, thank you for this, and I couldn't agree with you more. The weirdest, in fact. Right up there with armadillos.

  11. It's probably that she spent 3 weeks as the center of attention, and is miffed by the lack of star treatment back in the states. She'll probably straighten out in a few weeks, no worries!

    If not, could be ancient werewolf curse.