Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Terrible" Doesn't Quite Cover It

We are slowly feeling better over here, although I still find myself holding Piper down ten times a day to wipe her nose and I keep making spicy things for dinner to make my sinuses feel better. We had to miss a friend's barbecue on Sunday due to this oh-God-when-will-it-END sickness. Piper was feeling a bit better that day and starting to run around like usual, but I decided we should probably stay in quarantine. There were going to be other kids there, and I thought about how pissed I would be if somebody brought their coughing, snot-dripping kid to a party and let them hug all over Piper. I also didn't want to be responsible for giving this plague to anyone else.

Piper's birthday is next week. She will be two years old, and some days I wonder where my sweet little baby went. I wonder that most days, actually, because two is shaping up to be pretty challenging. I feel like all I have done for the past few days is scream at her and put her in time-out. She has stopped listening to and obeying our requests; the threat of a time-out or telling her "NO!" is no longer enough to deter her. She's smarter, taller, and has better dexterity than ever before, so her capacity for destruction is huge. So far this week she has:

- Refused to stay dressed on a daily basis. Every day it takes me until noon to talk/bargain/shove her into clothes, and by the time her nap rolls around in the early afternoon, she is always at least half-naked again. The naked little wild thing running around did come in useful when some bible-thumpers rang the doorbell and wanted to talk about Jesus, though.

- Started climbing into the bathroom sink. Two days ago I heard the bathroom fan running and went to investigate. I found Piper sitting in the bathroom sink, gleefully pumping the hand-soap dispenser and rubbing it all over her (naked, of course) body. She'd already uncapped a tube of toothpaste and squeezed half of it onto the counter, in addition to putting generous amounts of soap on my toothbrush.

- Because she is potty-trained (has been for a couple months, whoo!) I can't lock her out of the bathroom. Despite my warnings to stay out of the sink, the very next day I heard her howling and found her sitting in the sink again, this time with her chin covered in blood. She had climbed up there, taken the razor Ryan keeps in the toothbrush cup, and licked it. She was okay, just a small cut on her tongue, but after that I stuck her potty chair in the hallway and shut the bathroom door.

- Pried open the under-sink cabinet in the kitchen to the full extent allowable by the safety latch and rummaged inside. I caught her trying to drag a bottle of hardcore flea spray through the two-inch gap.

- Used the refrigerator handles to try and climb up the fridge. Used the long, flat box that serves as a door to her room first as a slide and then as a ladder to climb to the top of her 6-foot bookshelf. Climbed up on the couch and jumped off. Climbed everything that is climbable and then some.

She throws her clothes into the bathtub as I'm running water for her bath at night. "Sploosh!" she yells, then giggles as miniature My Little Pony underwear and a striped t-shirt disappear under the bubbles. I tell her to stand up, she sits down and looks at me defiantly. I tell her to sit down and she stands up and runs around. I tell her to stop touching the floor lamp in the living room, and she pushes it over. I give her a waffle and tell her to take small bites, and she crams the whole thing in her mouth. I break it up into bites for her, and she stuffs three pieces in at a go. Yesterday she was jumping around on the couch and took a header. Literally, she fell right on her head. Twice.

If I ask her to be quiet, she talks more and louder. I ask her to be careful of my foot (I think I broke my pinky toe...again), she finds a way to stomp on it every time she comes near me. When we're outside, I tell her to be careful of an anthill and she runs right through it. I tell her to stay out of a mud puddle and she grins at me and jumps into it with both feet.

She buckles herself into her jungle-gym swing and then screams when she can't get out. I unbuckle her and tell her not to buckle it again, but she does anyway, and screams for me to come let her out. We repeat this process 20 times every day. She takes the clothes off her dolls, then asks me to put them back on over and over again. She slams doors and howls because she can't get them open again. She asks me to read the same books 10 times in a row, and when I ask her to pick a different book or say I'll read it again later, she screams "Again! Again! Ag-g-g-g-g-ain!" She asks for something and I tell her no, then she spends the next 15 minutes following me around asking for the same thing over and over, until I get mad and yell and send her to her room.

I try not to get mad at her, but lately I haven't done a very good job of it. We are here, together, just us, in the house, every day. There is nobody else for her to scream at and stomp on the toes of; there is nobody else to make the lunch she refuses to eat. Aside from a trip into the back yard or up and down the sidewalk (where I will spend a lot of time telling her to stop putting rocks in her mouth, stop stomping on ant hills, stay out of other people's yards, and stop sitting in mud puddles), there is nothing to do and nowhere to go. There is nobody else to answer her howls and demands or tell her NO! Stop it! Get out of that! Put that down! every thirty seconds. It's hard to form a complete thought, let alone get anything done. I know it's just her age, I know she's just testing boundaries. But you know what? My boundaries are tested enough these days. I'd just like a little peace and quiet.

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