Children are challenging little fuckers. This is true. However, anyone who owns more than one kid (yes, I OWN them) will tell you, there is always one child who stands out as the most difficult of the two or three or however many there are- ask the Duggars, they'd agree that, yes, one of the pack stands out as more of a problem than the rest. Too soon?
Anyway, Avery was always the impossible one. I had just banked on her explosive sensitivity to seal her fate as the hardest. Not to mention the kid didn't sleep till she was five. She was exhausting on so many levels. Adorable, sure- lovable, absolutely- but at times she would frustrate me so far into oblivion that my right eye would twitch for hours. I always felt as though I was one meltdown away from my head shooting off my body and into outer space where it would eventually find a new planet to orbit for eternity.
Landon, on the other hand, only partook in two activities until he was three. He just smiled and napped. He was like a personified hug for thirty-six months; warm, cuddly, and squishy forever.
Or so I thought.
One day, at right about the time she started Kindergarten, my daughter and all her tantrums and insomnia folded into a cocoon, and when she emerged, all of that buzzing tension bloomed into insane brilliance and sweetness and helpfulness. Like, I can't even explain. She definitely has her emotional moments- I mean she IS my daughter and maybe she recently cried at dinner out with my in-laws because her lettuce wraps weren't properly sauced in a timely manner, but other than that, she's more of a personal assistant than a six-year-old. It's not uncommon for her to have my coffee ready for me in the morning. She's like four months away from me legitimately hiring her to babysit Landon. She fetches my phone charger when I leave it upstairs and couldn't pahhhhsibly get it myself. She gives her little brother impromptu math lessons. She eats like a yoga instructor. She's thoughtful and loving and pretty much perfectly behaved. It's an unreal turn of events and I'm thrilled about it.
And just when I thought that ever-present feeling of being thisclose to jumping off a cliff was gone, Landon decided to go through his Terrible Twos. At four-years-old. He name-calls. He looks me in the eyes while he touches the thing I just told him not to touch. He hits. He whines and screams and won't eat his vegetables. It's, somehow, more frustrating than my first go-round with Avery because I was so blind-sighted.
He also gets super frustrated with me now. He will ask me the most ridiculous questions that can't be answered by an adult with a human brain then be pissed when I can't come up with a satisfying response. He asks things like, "How many things is in the whole world?," and when I try to explain that there's no concrete, solid number to his not-even-real question he gets annoyed and tries to rephrase and shout-whines, "No. Mommy. Tell me HOW MANY STUFF IS IN THE WHOLE WORLD. HOW. MANY. STUFFS. JUST TELL ME!!"
And to this, what I want to say is, "Landon. You are projecting your insecurities about not knowing all the things adults do onto me and it is causing you to become aggravated." But- he's four, so I just say, "Ok, seventy stuffs," and we move on with our lives.
But he will get over it. I'm confident it's just a phase. He's still struggling to communicate and his little mind is on overload. I get it. His innate sweetness peeks through every so often and I'm reminded of his unworldly adorableness. He asked me yesterday, "Mommy? What are you doing? Do you want to lay down with me and hear my heartbeep?" and then my brain and insides explode and I die everywhere.
That said, that edgy keep-the-kitchen-knives-away-from-Mommy feeling is still quite active.
The kids and I were killing time before having to go to one of Avery's schoolmate's birthday parties yesterday, and due to having to skip Landon's nap to make it to the party on time, he was tired and bored and doing absolutely whatever he could to be destructive and make his misery known. He was picking fights with the Christ child and coloring on the table and knocking over the bag that contained the birthday present repeatedly. I was so overcome with frustration and so close to running away, that I had to clench my fists and look up at the ceiling to keep from crying. I faked a call to Grandma. To the police. To Santa. It was constant and there was no reasoning with him.
Meanwhile, Avery is putting the finishing touches on her darling home-made birthday card (show-off) and folds it up and seals it's envelope. She hands it to me, and I thoughtfully place it in the gift bag so that the top of the card is peeking out so all the parents at the party can see how cute my kid's card is. I walk away, and Landon jumps on his opportunity to be a dick, and shoves the envelope far, far into the bag to destroy the aesthetics of the gift.
And at this, Reverend Avery, who is always down for an opportunity to tattle, says, -wait for it-...
"Moommmmm. Landon's pushing the envelope! I mean it! MOMMY! HE'S REALLY REALLY PUSHING THE ENVELOPE!!!!"
And to that wonderfully unintentional pun, I said, "Yes, honey, he certainly is."