While I wilily while, Erin stubbornly stubs.
I think I hit my head on some low, overhanging, dark matter the other day.
Erin, Erin, quite contrarian, how does your garden grow?
“I no like it, garden!!!”
“Ok, kid. I’ll take it away.”
“Garden?? Garden?? I. Want. Garden?”
“Kid, you just said you didn’t want it.”
“I want garden!”
Not really about a garden. But it is about a garden, in the sense that it’s about any damned thing, any arbitrary thing; it’s a general truth that Erin love-hates everything right now. So it could be a garden.
“Kid, I’m telling you. There’s a ‘g’ in that word. Also, you just threw your food across the room, so I don’t believe you.”
“Hung-y? I want dinner?”
“I’m not falling for it again.”
At bedtime it’s a struggle into pajamas, then some quiet time with some milk that she doesn’t drink; she just holds the cup tightly against her chest, pretending to sip every few minutes. Half an hour later and she knows it’s time for bed.
But I’m not finished with the milk, guys. You can’t put me to bed until I’m finished with the milk.
She understands this pattern, but not the reason for it. She has mistaken a correlation for a cause. You do it too. Don’t pretend you don’t. Toddlers reason fallaciously.
A fanatical protest against bedtime, and I hold her in my arms as I click the light off all by myself. Tonight she doesn’t offer to help, so I have to figure it out on my own.
“Milk? Milk? I want milk?”
“No, kid. You so didn’t want that milk two minutes ago.”
“Thirsty? Milk? Water? Water?” Anything? Can I have anything, guys?
I admit, I cave a little. Maybe she is parched. I give her a sippy cup with some water in it, and lay her down in her crib.
“Daddy! Daddy? I want out? Mommy? I want owuht!”
“Goodnight, baby girl. I love you.”
I close the door behind me, then endure a fifteen minute list of demands from the leprechaun-sized terrorist in the next room.
“No milk! No water! Water? Yes? Daddy? I want piggy! I want bunny? I want lion. Want giraffe.”
Most of the items on her list are, in fact, in the crib with her. I hold out.
I stay silent throughout the self-destruction happening, the embittered, overtired cries for attention.
Then I hear, I swear I hear, I swear I hear my frustrated, darling daughter, my overtired offspring, complain: