Before my father-in-law came to town a few weeks ago I called him and his wife to tell them I was slammed with deadlines and that James also had a big project due. I explained rather sheepishly that we were hoping to take advantage of their visit to keep working while they spent time with the kids.
“The baby’s really easy going,” I told his wife Carol. “She has a sweet disposition and a nice personality. She won’t give you any trouble. You’ll see when you get here.”
I didn’t think I was lying. I’m so used to this baby being sweet that I thought I was telling them the truth.
But I wasn’t.
The truth is the baby is exasperating everyone in the family.
A 23-month-old now, she’s become fickle and willful and easily frustrated.
Traits of a 23-month-old toddler
She wants to do everything her way, and she wants to do it that way right now. She also has strange ideas about how the world should work. One of her notions, now that she’s a 23-month-old, is that my hand should not be attached to my body.
“No hand! No hand!” My 23-month-old shrieks at me. How can I get rid of my hand? Where should it go?
She has also become obsessed with shoes.
“Shoes on! Shoes on! NOT dat one! NO socks.”
She insists on wearing one sandal and one sneaker, walks out the door, takes two steps, sits down on her tush and starts yanking off her shoes.
Her other trick is intuiting the one object you need the most, and grabbing it from you. Our passports when we were traveling, for example. My credit card at the checkout at the grocery store. My cell phone when I’m stupidly taking a work call while on kid duty.
She pockets her brother’s Legos, squeezes a tube of her sister’s lip gloss all over her face, hands, and the couch, and she falls in a boneless heap because I closed the bathroom door when she wanted to shut it (“Me do it. ME DO IT! Waaahhh.”).
I wrote a book about toddlers and I’m still at my wits’ end with my 23-month-old
My father-in-law Jim and his wife Carol came back from spending their first day with the kids and flopped down on the couch. They both looked utterly exhausted.
“That easy baby you were telling me about, Jennifer?” Carol said, a smile in her voice. “I think she’s gone.”
I’m counting on this being a short disappearance.
My easy-going girl will be back soon. Won’t she?
Published: November 1, 2011
Updated: January 12, 2020