No, you can’t have a gumdrop for breakfast

The whining is starting to get to me. The whining and the relentless series of mini-tantrums, all over-dramatized contests for control.

Which cereal do you want? This one? This one? You have to choose one. Okay, this one.

You know, you really should eat more than one bite of cereal.

No, you can’t have a gumdrop for breakfast.

Which Elmo DVD do you want to watch while I take a shower? This one, really? Are you sure? Okay. We sit through the preliminaries so I can press play. Then Sophie changes her mind and throws a small fit.  We sit through the preliminaries of another Elmo DVD, so I can press play, again.

Eat a few more bites of cereal, please.

Hello! Why have you left Elmo and come into the bathroom? Why are you pulling your shirt off? Are you okay? I’m actually glad that Elmo DVDs are starting to bore her.

No, you can’t take a shower with me. Momma’s almost done showering, and you’re already dressed anyway. I know you’re having abandonment issues right now, I know you’re really clingy, but please put your shirt back on. I’ll check your diaper as soon as I finish toweling dry.

Now that I’ve checked your diaper, I am shivering and I really need to get dressed. I’ll play with you in a minute, I promise.

No, you can’t play with my necklaces. Okay, maybe just that one.

No, you can’t play with my earrings. Let’s go look at the flowers.

Please don’t chase the cats.

No, you can’t have a gumdrop for breakfast.

No, you can’t have a cupcake either. Okay, you can lick the cream frosting, because milk is a breakfast food I guess and I just can’t handle all of this whining.

It is the beginning of week five of single parenting. I haven’t yet had my morning tea.

I need to do your hair. Sit still, please. Your hair looks so pretty when I brush it. Come back here, please. Okay, we’ll use that hairband: good choice. Sit still, please.

I need to wash your face. It’s okay, it’s just water, it’s not going to hurt you.

Your feet are freezing; we need to put socks on your tiny little feet. Please stop wriggling. Please stop. Ouch, you kicked me.

Oh no. No hitting is allowed at all. You need a time out.

And I need a time out. I need a nap, I need another adult in the house, I need a sense of perspective, I need to not have this incredible anger just because Sophie is acting like a kid. She IS a kid. I haven’t yet taught her to take the word “No” very well, but this isn’t her fault, this is just something that I need to teach her. I am working on being firm and being consistent, but I am also just trying to get through the next two weeks until we can get back to being a two-parent-household. It frightens me, really, to see how angry I can become when Sophie is just giggling and hitting, testing the boundaries. It’s not her fault that she’s a two-year-old. I’m starting to wonder, what other adult can I invite over to my house at 7:30 am, to keep me from shaking my child when I take her to the time-out spot?

Sophie and I were both relieved when I finally dropped her off at daycare today. We both needed some time apart.

In the last two days, I am finding myself getting far too angry at Sophie. I think it’s because right now, my entire world revolves around Sophie. I spend my whole weekend waiting on her, with no breaks, with far too many little battles every day. I also have too many final exams to grade: 152 students is about 50 too many. I have to find a way to never have this workload ever again. I have to start packing for Britain. I have to get Sophie sleeping in her own bed, again, so I can get a good night’s sleep myself. I have to get some time to myself, soon, before I lose all my equilibrium. But first I really ought to grade these finals.

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