I hate the second-guessing that comes with motherhood. As soon as you think you’ve got your kid figured out, they throw you for a loop and make you realize that you know NOTHING.
So as Declan approaches 2, I’ve been feeling pretty damn good about the job that Paul and I are doing. Sure, we have moments with Declan that make us A) want to put him up on Craig’s List and B) wonder how the hospital let us leave with him 22 months ago. But for the most part, things are pretty smooth. I’ve been actually kind of obnoxiously spouting off at the mouth lately about how much I enjoy this age, and that the “Terrible Twos” don’t scare me.
Never EVER say things like that about your kid. EVER.
We are apparently in some sort of teething/toddler hell right now. I don’t attribute a lot of behavioral problems with teething, normally. I see people post on Facebook or Babycenter.com, my two fave hang-outs online, about these problems they are having with their kids, and they blame so much of it on teething, and I just roll my eyes. Sure, the kids act a little fussy and drool some, but they don’t become little Satanic devils 20 different times in their short lives while every tooth comes in. If so, most people would only have one kid, or Baby Dentures would be a huge hit, kinda like Baby Toupees. But I also know that Declan is in the process of getting his four canines, and has been a total bipolar psycho for the past week. Nothing too major: refusing to nap, melting down for reasons that only exist in his head, acting horrible one minute and hilarious the next; but it’s still been the ultimate toddler roller coaster. And even though I know he’s fine, there’s nothing like a week-long meltdown to make you feel completely incompetent as a parent.
I hate not knowing what the problem is. I hate the times that I’ve assumed he was just “being difficult,” only to find out it was strep. Or the first time we tried to “Ferberize” him, and after only 15 minutes of crying, with us going in at intervals to check on him, he had vomited, pooped and scratched his face til it bled. We found out two days later he had a double ear infection. I cried for what seemed like a lot longer than 15 minutes when I found that out. And I was pissed at myself more than anything because I didn’t want to let him “cry it out,” even though he was sleeping awful. My gut screamed not to do it, but everyone I knew and trusted told me I had to. So I did, and I regret it to this day.
Luckily, after a few days, our routine is back and the devil seems to have subsided, for now. Maybe those teeth aren’t hurting as bad, maybe the endless supply of Motrin we’ve pumped in him has helped, or maybe all the Play-Doh we’ve played with this week has made him happy. My funny little guy is back to his loving self, back to napping (thank god for that) and seems back to normal, if there is such a thing as a normal toddler. And I’m reassured that even though sometimes I have no clue what in the hell is going on, following my gut and watching Declan’s cues are the best ways to get through this adventure known as parenthood. Kids don’t come with a handbook for a reason. But wouldn’t it be nice if they did?