I should have known it would be this way.
From the moment when I first felt Vivian kick, I should have known I would have a “spirited child.” I would get comments at every prenatal checkup about what an “active baby” I was growing, I would find myself apologizing to patients as I worked on their teeth as a dental assistant and she kicked them in the head when my belly grew so big it had nowhere to go but right beside them, and I would smile and nod as friends and family were in disbelief at how much she moved and hiccuped all day. I thought surely a baby’s activity in the womb would have no correlation with their behavior after birth.
In talking with my mother-in-law on this subject, however, she remarked that she could tell the personality of both of her boys before they were born. My brother-in-law was so calm during her pregnancy that my husband’s constant activity almost posed a cause for concern. She says this perfectly mirrored their personalities both as children and to this very day.
As a first-time-mom, I had no point of reference for the level of craziness of her little personality aside from the constant comments about “what a handful” she must be, “how stubborn” she was, and where she gets “all that energy.” I operated on the belief that all babies and toddlers energetic stubborn handfuls. It wasn’t until I became a stay-at-home mom that I realized that is NOT the case. I joined a playgroup that contained seemingly angelic little toddlers that didn’t shout every other sentence, didn’t attempt to climb everything in sight, and didn’t pick a single booger during an entire playdate. And I watched, too. That is when I began to realize I am raising a “spirited child.”
THAT, my friends, is when I realized other parents don’t have to make rules like this:
- Don’t lick your sister.
- Don’t attempt to jump out of a moving shopping cart.
- Don’t eat playground mulch.
- Don’t chew on your shoes.
- Don’t try to climb out of a second story window.
- Don’t put your fork in the toaster.
- Don’t try to drag your newborn sister across the floor by her ears.
- Don’t put an entire roll of toilet paper in the toilet at once.
- Don’t draw on the walls.
- Don’t draw on your face.
- Don’t draw on your baby sister’s face.
- Don’t draw on the carpet.
- Don’t try to paint your nails while Mommy is in the shower.
- Don’t put nail polish on your hands, feet, and legs.
- Don’t use a Popsicle stick as a weapon,
- Don’t test how loud the echo is in the grocery store lobby.
- Don’t hide playdoh under the couch, even if you think you will need it later.
- Don’t hide snacks under the couch, even if you think you will need them later.
- Don’t climb on top of the refrigerator.
- Don’t get into the bath fully clothed.
- Don’t put a blanket over your head like a ghost to walk down the stairs. You will fall.
- Don’t invite strangers to “look how funny [your] butt is.”
- Don’t mash your newborn sister’s soft spot.
- Don’t squirt an entire tube of toothpaste in the sink.
- Don’t squirt an entire bottle of shampoo in the bathtub.
- Don’t squirt an entire bottle of dish soap in the sink.
- Don’t put your bare butt on the air vents.
- Don’t take your panties off at the library.
- Don’t take your shirt off at Costco.
- Don’t take your shirt off at Target, either.
- Don’t rub Greek yogurt on the curtains.
- Don’t pluck out my eyelashes while I sleep.
- Don’t loudly remind me at the grocery store that we need beer.
- Don’t tell strangers “Mommy beat me last night” in a pitiful voice. You really need to specify that I beat you AT CANDY LAND.
- Don’t lick your gummy bears and stick them to your baby sister’s head and face.