Monday, November 09, 2009

I always feel a little down the day after my birthday, anniversary, or a major holiday. I love the anticipation that goes into preparing for the big event, whatever it might be. The celebration itself always contains a little disappointment, too, of course--does the reality ever live up to our big expectations? But the day after is especially depressing. The detritus of the day before (in this case, the dirty dishes from cupcake baking, the remnants of frosting stuck to the countertops) is a visible reminder that this day isn't special.

So today was a downer day anyway, and then it turned out to be one of Charlotte's worst days ever. EVER. Do things improve after 3 1/2? Because if they continue to get worse, I don't know how we'll get through. I have had days in the past few weeks where, after Charlotte goes to bed, I try to think about one thing about her that I liked that day, and I can't come up with anything. There are days, in other words, when she's a first-class brat, a real three year old. And today was one of those. She was so uncooperative, so deliberately stubborn and obstinate and sulky and talking in that horrible whiny baby voice she does now and refusing to cooperate with anything and ARGH. She went to bed at 5:45 p.m. and I really think we could have put her to bed an hour earlier. She was obviously tired and not coping well with her own emotions. It just sucked, frankly.

So, 3 1/2 = not my favorite age.

Sam, on the other hand, is in one of my favorite ages. Plus, he sleeps great, so he's already getting a grander portion of my vast estate in my will. I feel bad liking Sam's baby shenanigans so much when I dislike Charlotte's behavior just as much, like I'm betraying Charlotte, but it goes without saying that of course I love them both equally. Sam's needs are just simpler to understand, his demands fewer. Charlotte is tapping into a part of my brain that is unused. Reasoning with a willful young child is stretching out areas of my cerebellum in a way that is at times just painful. But it can be enlightening, too, and my hope is this stretching will lead to flexibility.

5 comments:

Dale Deur said...

You may need look no further than the pictures to the right to explain Miss C's mood - going from several days of almost uninterrupted focus and attention from 1) Uncle Awesome and 2) Nana, then back to normal. I'm sure that rest and time will help. The remainder, unfortunately, is just simply the way it is...you'll get through.

Miz Jean said...

Jana...yes yes yes. I am SO there. I don't know if it gets better...but I'm hoping it does. I too have a load of guilt on the days where I really like one of my kids more than the other. Reagan is having a rough day today too. And poor Madison has a cold. So one gets lots of discipline and the other gets lots of snuggles and sympathetic cooing. Sigh...but this 5:45 bedtime sounds like the best thing EVER! If only that worked here!!!!!

megs said...

I'm reminded of a post on alittlepregnant awhile back where she compared her 4 year old to her early-toddler, and said very similar things about how her younger child's needs were easier to understand, that babies are so simple. These sorts of points fascinate and horrify me, because Henry's early infanthood was SO HARD, and certain things (sleeping, napping, being put down for a second) can still be SO HARD. A first timer like myself starts to think it gets easier, that as they can communicate and understand better that it's less frustrating and mystifying. But, apparently, now is the easy part? Yikes.

Sarah said...

I feel as though I could have written this same post. 3 1/2 is tough, really tough. I feel your pain!

Maggie May said...

3 was the hardest age for me with all my kiddos! Hang in there.