Trust the Gene Genie

Friday, April 09, 2004

I have two daughters. One's a 3-year-old blonde, Claire, who is completely nuts and the other's a 1-year-old troublemaker, Leigh. Complete troublemaker. Turn your back for three seconds and she has a fistfull of dirt already inside her mouth while sitting precarioulsy close to the edge of the counter she's just climbed.

The point. I was putting them to bed tonight and Claire was an emotional wreck. She hadn't had a nap so she was at that point of exhaustion when failing to look at her while she speaks sends her into a full-blown tantrum. Anyway. She won't just go down. She has to have her three favorite stuffed animals, her favorite books, three songs sung to her in a specific order and she has to plug in her night-light herself, turn off the room light and shut the door. It's a freaking production putting her to bed.

So tonight I'm lying her down on her bed and she's crying that she can't find her "purple" book. She has half a dozen purple books, many of which I produce. No. That's not the one she wants. She goes off for five minutes explaining to me the book between sobs, wails and gasps of breath. Keep in mind she's only 3 and doesn't speak really well to begin with. "Claire, you can't climb up there." "Yes I am!" she responds. So the whole time she's crying and describing her book, I'm trying to interpret the banter. A book about a boy. Your purple coloring book. Your purple crayon book. I have no idea what book she wants so I yell at her, tell her to stay in bed and go to sleep. I leave. She balls. I come back yell at her some more and she cries even harder. I can see that the yelling isn't doing what I want it to. Yeah. Who knew. So I finally patch things up, sing her "Twinkle Twinkle" and leave the room. She eventually falls to sleep still mad I didn't know what book she was talking about and probably frustrated out of her 3-year old mind that she can't communicate with the people around her.

Three hours later I go into my room and notice books sitting on the bed. I curiously look through them to see if any match the incoherant descriptions Claire gave me. And then I see "Harold and the Purple Crayon" and put it togehter. I felt terrible because I know had I not been fuming with her hours before and not pushing to get her to sleep, I could have easily figured out she was talking about "Harold and the Purple Crayon." I'm an idiot AND a jerk. No wonder kids have issues with their parents.

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