One year ago this week I was staring into the determined eyes of my toddler. I remember the moment clearly: she was standing in my bedroom between the closet and door while I was sitting on my bed. I can’t remember what the stand-off was about but it resembled the tense moment in one of those old Western movies before one of the cowboys made their first move. You know what I’m talking about: the camera zooms in on their sweaty, dirt-smudged faces, their gaze unbroken, all the townspeople crouched behind barrels and store windows.
What was the drama about? I can’t remember. Socks that didn’t feel right. Pants she didn’t want to wear. Wanting to go shoe-less on a city walk. It could have been anything in those days and that particular week had been battle of the wills after battle of the wills with my baby turned toddler.
She wasn’t my first child but is definitely my most “spirited” to date. She’s loud, wild, hilarious, and deeply sensitive.
Something happened that day as I watched her dark brown, almost black, beautiful doe-like Bambi eyes framed angelically by springy chestnut curls, stare at me, ready to go the distance. I laughed. Not at her. Not out loud. I laughed internally at the idea that I was in conflict with a two-year old human being. I laughed at the “seriousness” of this situation. I marveled at the spirit this child possessed: so small, yet unafraid of to stand up and test me, Goliath. 24 months prior I’d delivered her myself. All 7-ish pounds of her slid into my arms sunny-side up with eyes wide open on my bedspread. Those same eyes.
And here we stood. In the same room as her birth. Reliving an alternate form of back labor.
That day I began to write. I created a character based on my toddler called Honest Toddler and one year later, a book was born. The Honest Toddler: A Child’s Guide to Parenting. My first book. It’s not a how-to. It’s a humor book; an oasis of giggles for parents who may or may not have ever found themselves standing face to face with a 2T with furrowed brows over the wrong shaped piece of cheese.
As I wrote I was forced to understand the hilariously straightforward thought patterns of my toddler
“Yes, we’re in an intersection but I’m done walking, therefore, I will sit down.”
“5AM is technically morning. Breakfast please.”
I’d like to say the process of writing this book has made me a more enlightened parent, able to deal with anything life or my toddler throws at me, but that isn’t exactly the case. While I can say my awareness increased, I still find myself closing my eyes and counting to 10 several times a week. I pray to God, angels, fairies, whichever deity floating by wants to help me make it through the chaos that is dinner preparations.But I laugh more. Not when she can see me, as we all know toddlers resent being mocked. I’ve relaxed. Because in two years her emotions may steady a bit but most of the baby fat around her tummy and face that I like to bury my lips in will melt away and she’ll be able to say “pajamas” instead of “kijamas” and at that moment I’d probably cut her toast in any shape on Earth for just one more nose-to-nose with my pint-sized, curly-haired warrior. Book: http://www.amazon.com/The-Honest-Toddler-Childs-Parenting/dp/1476733716 Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HonestToddler