Suburban Snapshots

Birthday Body Snatchers

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I don't like to whine, I swear. I admit to enjoying commiseration though. So sit tight, because people, exactly one day after her birthday someone body-snatched my daughter and replaced her with a perpetually exasperated teenager with a complete inability to end words without adding, "-UH" and treating me like I was placed on this earth to either cater to her or ruin her life. It's like living with my sisters in high school all over again.

Our day starts at sun up — shout out to daylight saving, holla! — when either she bellows from her bed, demanding that I come chariot her into the living room, or her little mop head shows up in my face whining for me to take her to the bathroom. I don't think she's had a good snuggle with us in the week since she turned three.

At the couch, more demands. This isn't really new; she wants juice, PBSKids, and her blanket. If I'm coherent enough to anticipate these three it spares me at least two solid minutes of whining-correcting-demanding-reprimanding-Mexican standoff-someone in tears. This is before the hot water has even thought about filling up my French press (we're very international here before seven o'clock).

Even as I type this she's been put in her room for whining and crying non-stop since she pulled me from my warm blankets, insisting I carry her to the couch, then spending the morning fighting with her cousin over Angry Birds, a spot on the couch, their feet touching, shared oxygen, take me away.

I try to be consistent. She gets no demands met until she asks politely for them. She gets put in time-out the second I see any portion of her tongue jut in my direction. I tend not to yell, but respond to her firmly and respectfully, though I'm sure the exasperation shows in my voice just as the tension shows in the throbbing veins on my forehead. She seems to act up regardless of whether I'm entranced by Facebook or giving her my undivided attention over Play Doh.

What saves my sanity are the moments like this, where her hilarious personality is on full display. This is my daughter, and I'm trying to understand why she seems to spend so much time and energy trying to turn me into a beet-faced lunatic instead of killing me with gasping laughter.

This is your cue, fine readers. Please send help.

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