It's taken me over ten months, but I've finally admitted to myself that my daughter has an attitude problem. I'm this close to calling it a Temper. A disposition so persnickety and demanding can hardly amount to anything else, yet I've been glossing over the obvious since her birth.
Go ahead. Try to make me happy.
"She just knows what she wants," I'd say to my husband, whisking Molly away from his frustrated attempts to stuff a bottle into her mouth.
"She's just very attached," I'd say to my mother, snatching a howling beast-baby out of her arms.
"GET AWAY FROM HER!" I'd shout at my first-born, who was only trying to play catch with his new sister.
Phillip and I, having been dealt the easiest-going baby on the planet the first time around, were simply unaware of the signs. We kept waiting for Molly to start enjoying the perfect little world we were trying so hard to give her, but the girl wouldn't sit long enough in the stroller to even look. Her body would contort, her face would screw up, and suddenly we were marching home at top speeds, trying not to make eye contact with all the other parents who were SURELY JUDGING US. We told ourselves that Molly just needed time and that things would get easier.
But I have to say, we certainly weren't expecting her attitude to get WORSE, which is EXACTLY what happened.
Feeding Molly, a task that has never been easy on anyone, is now an exercise in bashing one's head against the wall. She APPEARS to be hungry, but won't let you put anything NEAR her mouth let alone IN. For a while it seemed like she was favoring the homemade stuff over the jarred (the opposite had been true for months) so I whipped up a bunch of frozen cubes. The next day, of course, she wanted nothing to do with food at all. She kicks in her chair. She shakes her head "no" and throws her cup on the floor. She rocks back and forth so violently the whole chair scoots across the kitchen. If I really make her mad, you know, by trying to FEED HER, she'll slam her hands down on the high chair tray so hard, even Jack pauses to gape in awe.
Right now she's gnawing on a banana, the only food she'll accept tonight, and glaring at me. Of course.
I feel like I need to have friends and relatives sign a release form when they change her diaper because those meaty legs throw out some powerful, angry kicks. It's been so hot we've been playing in the kiddie pool every afternoon, but Molly acts like we're trying to dip her in a bowl of bubbling spaghetti sauce. She's still not very good about letting other people hold her, even her grandparents sometimes, and beware the toddler who steals her toy. That banshee shrieking you hear? Is my daughter venting her frustration with The Unfairness that is having an older brother.
But while the temper has intensified each month, so has, I'm relieved to say, the happy. The full belly giggles, the excited screams, the frantic happy claps, and the big shiny face of glee. I definitely know what ticks her off, but I'm also learning what she loves. When Jackson was her age, nothing ever threw him off his center. We congratulated ourselves on our always-cheerful baby, but I don't think we got a taste of full-on shimmering baby joy until Molly rolled in. And the way she looks at me when she's happy, like I am The Best Mommy Forever and Ever Amen. How do I put THAT in the baby book?
Kiss kiss kiss!
I'm sopping up all my Molly love I can get. If her temper at 10 months is anything to go by, the teenage years are going to kill me.