Hello Toddlerhood

Baby Bug embarrassed me for the first time in the grocery store the other day. She shrieked at me while we were cruising through the frozen food aisle. All of a sudden with no warning, she let out this high pitched “eeeeeeeeee!” that completely took me by surprise. Of course, me getting startled translated to “Let’s make this a game!” to her and the more I tried to shush her, the more she shrieked. Shriek! Shriek! Shriek!

I wanted to crawl under the cart and pretend I wasn’t there. Who is this baby and why is she screeching at me?! And why am I such a bad mom that I have no idea how to get her to stop? Should I slap her leg? Should I take her out of the store and forget about all the food that I need to buy in order to make dinner? What do I do?!! I had no clue.

I tried everything I could think of. I looked her in the eye and gave her the sternest glare I’ve ever given. Usually, I could fry eggs with my death ray glare but it didn’t even phase her. Then I told her firmly, “No!” and threatened to take her out of the store if she didn’t stop. That didn’t work either. In desperation, I peeled a sticker off the bunch of bananas I had in the cart and stuck it to her knee. That worked like a charm. She spent the next several minutes trying to unstick and re-stick the sticker. What a relief. I scuttled away from all the staring people in the frozen food aisle as quickly as I could.

I was totally embarrassed even though I know it could be a LOT worse. Am I really cracked up for this parenting gig? I know I’ve read every book and I know all the things you’re not supposed to do but am I ready to be the disciplinarian? This scares the crap out of me.

I think the fun “look-at-my-cute-adorable-baby” stage is over and I have officially entered the “work” part of parenting. The part where I help her become a better person by being firm and consistent and I can’t always fix everything and make everyone happy with a cookie. Oh, woe is me. I’m so much better at being the Auntie who spoils everyone rotten.

I’ve been thinking about this for months. I’ve been secretly patting myself on the back that Baby Bug hasn’t reached the “NO! ” stage yet and thinking maybe it’s because I’m so inventive with my use of the negative command. I’m always saying things like “That’s an uh-uh” or “That’s not for babies. It will burn you and make you cry.” or “Oooh! Look at this shiny thing over here!” So far we’ve been really lucky and she’s been a very pleasant toddler to be around.

BUT…. Just like you can’t put off the inevitable flu with projectile vomit or a trip to the emergency room, I realize that I can’t avoid the fact that Baby Bug is developing a will of her own and the motivation to test me with it. Hoooo boy. I’m just so glad these things come on slowly. Or do they? So far they have.

She has started saying “no” but it’s been in a sweet “no.”. I know that sounds weird but it’s true. Sometimes she says it when she means “yes”. It seems to be a filler word for her, like how someone would say “hmmmmmm… today is a nice day, I think I’ll have a glass of lemonade.” Here’s a little clip. I know this stage will be over soon and she’ll be letting me know what “No!” really means but for now I will saver these sweet little no’s. I will cling to them and try to memorize them because soon they will be gone FOREVER! And then she’ll be a teenager and hate me.

I also have another little clip. This is of her saying “Bye! Bye!” She was yelling “Biiiiiiiiye!” to everyone in the parking lot. She was so loud, people actually turned around to see who was yelling at them. A business man talking on his cell phone three cars over even stopped his conversation to say, “Bye” back to her. She’s such a nut. On the car ride home, she yelled “Bye!” at me the whole way home. “Bye! Bye! Bye!”

I remember somebody told me that you spend the first 18 months trying to get them to talk and the next 18 years trying to get them to shut up. I haven’t gotten to the I-wish-she-would-shut-up stage yet but I can clearly imagine it. As Baby Bug says, Bye! Bye! Quiet Babyhood. Bye, bye.