Monday, August 2, 2010

From Adorable To Impossible -- In Seconds Flat

Car ads often boast that the vehicle being hawked can go from zero to sixty miles per hour in seconds flat.

Those cars have nothing on my kids.

Thing 1 and Thing 2 can -- and frequently do -- go from adorable to impossible, and do so faster than a speed measurable by modern physics.

They seem to pick two particular periods of the day in which to exhibit this astonishing capability: 
the moment just prior to when we're all supposed to walk out the door for school/camp/the babysitter's wedding ... whatever event we're already late for ... and the moment just prior to when we're supposed to settle down for the night together for cuddles and books in bed.

It's quite incredible to witness the ease with which they morph their facial expressions from innocent, sweet, downright angelic to He/She Who Will Not Be Denied A Toy To Bring In The Car, A Toy That As Of This Very Moment Cannot Be Located Anywhere In The Entire House, But Must Be Found Or The Heavens Will Weep.

I'm talking thorougly believable, instant transitions even Oscar-calibre performers couldn't pull off.

They can be giggling in that delightul, infectious, giddy way, their flesh all warm and soft and squeeze-able in your arms, thoroughly enjoying a post-dinner ticklefest you're happily administering on the sofa.  But when the announcement comes that the time for bed has arrived, mouths open in howling wails of protest; little feet kick and stamp upon the floor in ways sure to annoy the neighbors downstairs; or the little body is suddenly dead weight against you as the voice whines, "I'm too tired," "I can't get up," usually followed by, "carry me."

Agreeable, pliant children have turned into Children of The Damned, or rather, Children Who Are Damned Sure They're Not Going To Do What You Want Them To.

Late Blooming Dad and I have a unified policy at these moments:  Don't Give In.  After all, we can't let the pint-sized terrorists win, can we?  But even so, when we should, by rights, ignore -- for ignoring is the only response that actually works, provided we're patient and can wait out the whining -- all too often, we slip up and begin to explain, to argue, to justify.  This, of course, only prolongs the agony for all concerned.  But it's hard to be on your best parenting behavior after a long day's work, after giving baths, preparing and cleaning up dinner, and wishing only to be done, done, done with the bedtime ritual and moved on to some much-needed grown-up time. 

I know I should be treasuring the cuddly bed-time moments.  But because bed-time is so often preceded by that adorable-to-impossible transition, and the accompanying fit, I've often got too sore a throat (from raising my voice) and too sour a feeling in my stomach from the adrenaline that coursed through me in reaction to trying to quell whatever fit has been visited upon us.  All that I can think about is how soon they'll be asleep at last, asleep at last, thank God almighty, asleep at last (with apologies to M.L.K. Jr.).

Still, there are those evenings, even after such fits, when reading to them by flashlight, lying alongside them in their beds, or holding their hands until they nod off,  is as sweet as such a moment can possibly be.  Sometimes those very moments do follow the impossible ones by, well, if not mere seconds, than at least by a few minutes, during which everyone has cooled off and calmed down.

I suppose, if they didn't have the capacity to be so impossible, then I wouldn't appreciate it quite so much when they really are adorable.  But trust me, I could do with a lot less impossible and a little more adorable around here.

1 comment:

fsmum said...

Oh, I can sooo identify with this one!