Wednesday, August 31, 2011

When Toddlers Attack

Let me paint you a little picture:

A hiker, a woman, is blithely treading through the forest when she happens upon a grizzly bear. 
The bear lifts its head and meets the fearful hiker's gaze.  The woman hesitates: flee, or stay and confront her enemy?  Suddenly she remembers the Trader Joe's peach popsicle in her backpack.  She flings the popsicle at the grizzly, who approaches it wearily.  Dammit, thinks the hiker.  I forgot to open it!  The bear doesn't have opposable thumbs.  I'll have to do it myself.  The woman slowly approaches the bear.  "I'm not here to hurt you," she says quietly.  "If you'll just let me help you..."
The bear eyes the woman.  He huffs through his great nostrils but allows her to open the popsicle with her pocket knife.  "Here," says the woman.  "It's yours."
Suddenly, the bear lets out a terrifying roar.  He lunges for the popsicle, stomps on it with his massive paws, then flings it away.  When the woman tries to intercede, the bear turns on her, baring it's terrible teeth.  Every move the woman makes is the wrong one.  She is growing hysterical now - who knows what this beast is capable of?
Just then, her husband (who had been distracted by a snack break nearly an hour ago and had no doubt consumed all of the couple's provisions) arrives on the scene.  "What's this?" he asks.
"The bear!  I don't know what it wants!" the woman shrieks.  "Everything I do is wrong!  Does he want the popsicle?  Does he not want the popsicle?  What do I do?"
The man, thinking he knows how to handle a savage beast better than his timid wife, steps in.  He picks up the now-melted popsicle and hands it to the bear.

"RRROOOOOAAAARRRR!"  The bear bellows louder than before.  The couple is frozen in terror, clutching each other desperately, wondering if this will perhaps be the end of their short but happy life together.  "I love you," says the woman.
"I have an idea!" the man exclaims suddenly, setting the bear into another fit of rage.  "The trailmix!  I didn't eat it all!"  There's a first, the woman thinks, but she's willing to try anything at this point.  The man throws a few dried pineapple chunks and peanuts at the bear.  And then, as if by some strange woodland magic, the bear settles down calmly and nibbles delicately at the trailmix.
The man and the woman, still clinging to each other, hardly dare breathe.  "What does it want?" the woman whispers.  The bear pauses, sniffs the air, then resumes his snacking.
"I'm not sure," the man whispers back.  "But it seems sated."
"Do we flee?"
"We do!"
The man and the woman run as quickly as their trembling legs can carry them back into the forest, never to hike again for the rest of their lives.
The End

Okay, so that's not exactly what happened to me yesterday, but it gives you an idea of how John and I felt when Jack had his first major toddler meltdown.
I'm not sure what about that peach popsicle made him go from sweet, innocent child to shrieking, flailing monster, but I'll be damned if I ever offer him another one.  Jack has exhibited short fits of rage before, but nothing anywhere close to this.  The tantrum went on for a good eight minutes, and even John's arrival in the middle of it couldn't calm the savage beast.  There was actually a second popsicle involved (of which Jack ate about half before going berserk on me once again).  The worst part was that I truly wanted to help him, but every single attempt I made only worsened the situation.  If I tried to remove Jack from the highchair, he locked his legs together so I couldn't get him out.  If I tried to dry his tears, he turned away and sobbed into the side of the highchair.  Removing the popsicle from the tray only made the hysterics worse.  Bringing it back started the whole thing anew.  I COULD NOT WIN!  The only thing to do at that point, my friends, was laugh. 

Okay, so maybe the bear looked a little more like this...
Not long ago Sarah asked me how I deal with my problems (not that my life is particularly difficult, but we all get frustrated or stressed out from time to time).  Sarah, for example, is a venter - she will talk her problems out until she's blue in the face, and you're deaf in both ears.
John holds it in and then goes for a nice twenty-miler.  You wonder why he runs so damn much?  It's because he's married to me.
And then there's me.  I used to get depressed.  I used to internalize all of my frustrations, blaming myself and assuming there was something deeply wrong with me.
While that may still be true, I realized when I was talking to Sarah that this blog has been a savior for me in a lot of ways.  In the middle of a complete and total toddler apocalypse, I am able to think to myself, "This really freaking sucks.  But it will be great material for the blog!"  I've learned how to find the humor in what would otherwise be a totally miserable situation.  And by the time I'm done writing about all those little things that make me crazy, I feel so much better.  So thanks for letting me vent in my own way.
I'm going to need that sense of humor on Friday, when we travel to California (AGAIN!), without a seat for Jack.  And hey, at least I know if things get really rugged, I'll get a great blog post out of it.

Wish us luck!

1 comment:

kerry2642 said...

I fully understand your frustrations.. can only say IT does get better..usually in about 18 yrs.. when they are off to college or wherevers.. lol.. I know you probably don't find this at all funny.. but just trying to put that pretty smile back on your face.. Safe flight to CA.. hugs "AK"