Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Twenty-Three Months

An hour ago it suddenly occurred to me that today is the 15th. That means it's time for my Genevieve's-monthly-birthday post. She only gets two more, this one and when she turns two, so I'd better not forget.

That's right, Genevieve is 23 months old today, and nothing says "23 months" like the sound of a furious toddler in her crib at the end of the hall, standing up (no doubt) and SCREAMING at me like the enraged 16-year-old she will one day be. Right now she's hurling the word "NO!" at me with so much bile--it's more like "NNNNNNNNNNNNO! NO! NOOOOOOOOOOO!"--that I can clearly picture her, teenaged and obnoxious, slamming doors and destroying personal property. Seriously, if you get this worked up over a nap--enforced relaxation, for God's sake!--what are you going to be like when it comes to curfew and chores and oh no you are NOT going out of the house wearing THAT? I shudder to think.

Luckily, I don't have to worry about the teen years just yet when I'm so fully occupied with 23 months! Yesterday, for instance, Genevieve screamed for 40 minutes at naptime, then fell asleep for half an hour, then woke up and screamed for 30 more, before conking out for good. At the end of the day, a friend called to check on my sanity level, and I told her--in all honesty--that "my day wasn't bad." The fact that a day characterized by 70 minutes of baby-shrieking could count as "not bad" tells you an awful lot about the life of a stay-at-home mom to a toddler and preschooler, and also, about JUST HOW RELATIVE EVERYTHING IS. Am I right?

Then there was Sunday, when I went for an evening run for the sole purpose of escaping the house during Genevieve's bedtime scream-fest. Because when she cranks it up like she's been doing these days, believe me, there is no place within the house to hide. You can actually hear her downstairs, with the baby monitor off. So I did my four miles instead, taking my time afterward to cool down before coming in, and when I returned home I learned that she'd hung in there for 50 solid minutes. Now that's hard-headedness, people. And why it didn't occur to me to go somewhere for, say, a glass of wine or a movie, rather than a four-mile run, is beyond me. I don't know, people. Something about being sleep deprived.

But, you know, the thing about Genevieve is that, as I like to put it, when she's not being naughty she's really, really cute. You could just eat her up, she's so cute. She's a giant ball of pink and yellow baby chub, in candy-striped sunsuits and pink-gingham sundresses and bright white sandals and flower-trimmed sunglasses, and she looks like a pastel-hued hard candy. She has started, just these past two days, to call casually at me from her highchair when I come down for breakfast: "Hiiiii, Mama!" and it's like the rays of the sun breaking through six months of glowering thunderclouds. Every now and then I even get a hug and a kiss from her, and it almost makes up for all the scowls and yells of, "Nuh-UH MAMA!" I usually get when I lift her from her bed after naptime and try to nuzzle her neck, or when I greet her in the morning with an attempt to smooch and cuddle. I made the girls applesauce popsicles the other day for snack, and you should hear her try to say "popsicle"; you'd fall over from the adorableness. I can't even write it, it's just some three-syllable mystery, but she says it, pointing at the freezer, and she knows. She knows you won't say no to her.

And that's the other thing. This baby, she knows how to get what she wants. She throws the tantrums, oh yes she does, with the energy and force of a tropical storm. It's rather admirable, in a way: how she'll repeatedly throw herself onto her back from a standing position, all the while screaming, turning bright red, and working up a sweat, all for, say, a third string cheese. And people, no one really needs three string cheeses. But would YOU choose to subject yourself to ear-splitting screams all freaking day long? I never thought I'd be the kind of mom to give in to tantrums just to stop the screaming, but what I have learned is this: it's not the potential embarrassment factor, or lazy parenting--I couldn't care less that the neighbors hear her shrieking for another biter biscuit during our stroller walk, and in my honest moments I will allow that I am probably one of the least lazy parents you will ever meet--but, people, sometimes YOU JUST CAN'T STAND THE NOISE ANYMORE. You give her three snacks instead of one, because Good Lord above, you put up with the tantrums most of every single day, and every now and then you just want the screaming to stop before you lose what's left of your mind.

But did I mention the cute? The cheeks? The hair? The "Hiiiii, Mama"? Did I mention her nerve, her determination, her absolute refusal to let anyone help, ever, and how she always gets it in the end, she even climbed up the giant new king-sized bed with its extra-deep mattress and box-spring twice her height, growling all the while at my offers to assist, falling backward onto the carpet THREE TIMES in a row before she succeeded, but she succeeded? Did I mention all that? Because I have a feeling Genevieve's going to be President one day, given her tenacity and her sass and her deep and utter inner belief that there's nothing she can't do.

I'll tell everyone, I knew it at 23 months.


Christopher Tassava said...

President? Never. She wouldn't bother with all that nonsense. CEO of a big company where she makes all the decisions - that's more like it. Vivi, Inc.

Of course I won't be intimidated by her or her trophy husband because I'll have been there on her 23-month birthday, when she said, "Pospisle."

Anonymous said...

Okay, none of us are buying the tantrums after taking one glance at that adorable face! Totally sweet picture. I guess when you're that cute, you can get away with the screaming and all :)

Mnmom said...

Their cuteness is the only thing keeping us from walking out the front door and heading for Bora-Bora.