We have been having a WEEK over here. As I write, I’m wrist-deep in a bag of mini Cadbury eggs in an attempt to repair my fragile emotional state with a chocolate cure-all. I’ve fully acknowledged that Olivia has begun to embrace the stereotypical behaviors of a threenager but apparently that was just the amuse bouche of the 10-course tasting menu of bittersweet toddler she’s dishing out with Top Chef-like authority.

Her insults are scathing (in a three-year old sense) and go straight for the emotional jugular. Then there are the withering stares where it looks like she’s trying to use the power of her mind to set me aflame. You have not truly felt fear when you’ve incurred the unbridled wrath of a 3-year old who is told “no” or simply you had the audacity to say “good morning” to. It’s been so awful as of late that the other morning I must have had the most forlorn expression on my face because my husband, who is never given this verbal beatdown from his precious daughter, asked me if I wanted a hug. And you know what, I did. Olivia is the person that I spend pretty much all of my waking hours with so when that person acts like a raging a-hole towards you, it takes its toll.

Big sigh. She is three. She is three. This is my mantra when insults, raspberries, and thunderous foot stomps come raining down with increasing regularity. She’s three. It’s a phase. She’s looking for a reaction. She wants attention. Right? Or she’s learned my weakness and relishes the power she wields over me and wants to see how far to the brink she can drive me right before reeling me back in to sweetly say “My favorite part of the day is…I love you, Mommy.”  

I am emotionally exhausted weathering this mean streak of hers. To dig deep and still summon a maternal sweetness so you can model the correct behavior when all you want to do is throw some serious shade in retaliation is a Herculean task. While visiting my in-laws the other day, I held up a framed picture of baby Olivia and showed it to her “See? You used to be such a happy baby! You didn’t like sleep, but oh you were so happy.” Yes, this week has been so horrid that I was actually wistful for the days when I was piecing together four hours of total sleep so long as it meant that I had this chubby bundle of happiness who smiled with heart-melting ease.

Like all things that seem never-ending at the time, this too shall pass. For all her Regina George-like cattiness, there are still the sweet moments in between that help to Band-aid my gaping heart wounds left from the last grenade she tossed out without care. Thankfully bedtime is early these days and I can’t help but let out a sigh of relief when I finally close that bedroom door and hop on my computer to start researching boarding schools for her teenage years. Kidding…sort of…

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