Grace, that is. At the ripe old age of 22 months, I think it's safe to say she has mastered the art of the toddler tantrum. No great surprise considering she devotes hours to perfecting her form every day. Grace's tantrums are quite elaborate, generally involving some combination of rolling around on the ground, kicking the ground, hair-pulling, and face-smacking. And screaming, high-pitched screaming, we can't leave that out! Yes, very dramatic, but highly effective.
If you were at the Experimental Farm today around noon, you may have witnessed one of Grace's finer performances. I was the one wearing a long jean skirt (I can't quite pull it off like Michelle Duggar, note to self: just because something fits, it doesn't mean you should wear it), Grace was the one having a conniption fit at the playground. What was Grace having a fit over, you ask?
Well, it started out when I tried to feed her the main part of her lunch before the snack part of her lunch (can you imagine?). The main part of her lunch was a soy dog and cheese baked into a pastry. Hardly liver and broccoli, but Grace wouldn't have any of it. Fair enough, this was our second massive (massive!) fit of the day, I wasn't up for the argument, I'd already run out of steam at this point. She'd had a good breakfast this morning, so I threw the wrap in the garbage. That was my first mistake. Grace didn't like that -- how do I know? She fell to the ground and started rolling around and screaming. OK, point taken. I don't try to pick her up when she's having a tantrum, if I do, she tries to scratch my face or slap me (nice, eh?). I waited it out until Owen was done his soy dog, then I offered him some fruit snacks, and I gave him a package for Grace, who had managed to cover an impressive 30-40 feet with her tantrum-ground-rolling maneuver (well-done!). She hopped up and started to eat the fruit snacks, score: Grace-1, Mom-zip.
The fruit snacks were happily consumed, then Grace spied me eating a banana. There is an unspoken rule in our house that if I'm eating something, anything, Grace must have a bite. It doesn't matter if it's avacado, and Grace hates avacado, she'll still take a bite (and spit it out). I'm convinced it's Grace's way of letting me know I'm her bitch. Seriously. It's some weird alpha-toddler thing, she's establishing her place in the pack. Fortunately, I had three bananas (go, me!), so I gave her one. I cracked the top open, I know enough not to peel Grace's banana, as it would make her go bananas (hardy har har). Crisis averted. For three seconds. Grace broke the top off her banana and handed it back to me to fix (dammit, nooooo!). I took it and turned around, palming the broken piece so she couldn't see it, and handed the banana back. No dice. She thew it on the ground in a pile of dirt. I picked it up and put in in the garbage. Act II of Grace's fit commenced, it involved a little hair-pulling (her own), and some more screaming that would rival anything Mariah Carey could belt out (you know, those high notes that make your eyes roll back in your head). This marked the end of our trip to the Experimental Farm, Owen wanted to see the tractors, but Grace wasn't going to have any of it, it was time to go.
I have to say, she has been our most challenging child so far. She's certainly not a 'bad' child per se, she's just stubborn as all get-out. She has never been interested in being a baby, perhaps because she has 3 older siblings to look up to. She knows what she wants, and she demands it. No pigtails (hence a blonde mop of hair always hanging in her big, blue eyes), and no dresses (do not call her pretty, you will pay for it). To put it simply, Grace is a force to be reckoned with, a blazing ball of energy who could bring most grown adults to their knees.
Fortunately, Grace's new-found toddler tantrum mad skillz have coincided with a new 3-hour afternoon nap routine, without that merciful break, I'd go mental. Of course, she's probaby just recharging her batteries for whatever tantrum she'll throw next, but whatever, I'll take it (beggars can't be choosers!). I have to say, on the bright side, our latest foray into the 'terrible twos' has made me feel a little better about our decision to have no more children. At worst, we have about two more years of this left, someday we'll be able to look back at these years with fondness. That's what I keep telling myself, anyway.