Toddlers are hideous creatures. They really are. And my little bundle of joy is no exception.
It has been explained to me that the Terrible Twos take place because a child cannot express himself or herself and the result of that frustration is a flailing, screaming mess that can occur anywhere, anytime.
There are phases when it comes to raising a child. Any parent that says the first 6 weeks to 3 months are 'not so bad' are big, fat liars. You try and sleep 3 hours a night for weeks and weeks and see how pleasant you are. It's been said that your memory of that difficult time fades (hence why most folks have more than one child). Let me assure you, it is burned into my memory. Permanently. One of the (many) reasons that Lucy will be our only princess. Besides, I could never recreate perfection like that.
One thing though that is FANTASTIC about the first 3 months is the ability to go out for the evening with your friends or a spouse and not have to worry too much about how the baby will behave. Nine times out of ten, they will sleep soundly in their carseat throughout the whole affair. So get out of the house NOW. I speak the truth.
Then comes a transition phase from 3-6 months. Your little darling can roll over, make eye contact, and give you a smile unrelated to what is going on in his or her diaper. Still, they are little 'pods' as I like to call them, (and I mean this term affectionately) that need constant supervision. Babies of this age are still somewhat unpredictable, though in general (IN GENERAL), a parent can breathe just a little. Notice I said a little. I still hovered over Lucy's crib every night to make sure she was breathing during this time. I still do that, by the way.
So next comes the honeymoon phase from 6 months until around 15 months. Babies babble and say ma ma and da da (ma ma comes first, as obviously it should). I think this is a particularly awesome phase for women who in general have a more nurturing instinct than men. Yes, that includes me. Don't laugh. I loved this time with my daughter. It was amazing to watch her grow and change right before my eyes. And she would still let me hold her.
The one caveat to the above is that the honeymoon period can become drastically shortened if you have an early walker. Which, big surprise, we did. At 9 months. At first I was so excited. Yay! Lucy is a genius! She's going to take over the world! HOWEVER - once your kiddo becomes mobile, life as you know it is over. You will never sit down again. Ever.
Parenting is for the younger. I am 38 years old, so by young-ER I mean the 20ish years. Chasing Lucy around was (and still is) exhausting. Weekends are not relaxing, vacations are work. But it's a sacrifice you make for your own little piece of immortality.
So around 15-18 months, toddlers really find their voice. Loudly. Repeatedly. They have no regard for location or the hardness of the floor upon which they are inevitably going to fling themselves multiple times a day. For no reason. At least not one that we as parents can figure out. All of a sudden your sweet little darling becomes Satan-in-waiting. You never know when their heads will spin. And of course you can't ASK them what they want b/c they cannot tell you. So they show you. It actually became comical at one point, so much so that my husband and I would start laughing at her (trying to hide it from Lucy, of course). The best thing to do is to walk away and not acknowledge the behavior. It works 90% of the time. Lucy's longest tantrum lasted about a minute, the exception being the night she screamed for an hour b/c she did not want to go to bed. To which our response was going downstairs, shutting ourselves off in the sunroom, and turning up the volume on the TV to a house shaking decibel level.
It comes to pass during this time period (of course) that we were headed out on a couple of summer vacations. My husband (and me also, though reluctantly) thought it would be a FANTASTIC idea to drive to northern Michigan so that we would have access to our car. So off we went. With a toddler. And of course the token dog in his crate in the back of the vehicle. Can't forget that. Side note: we made this journey TWICE during the summer. Twice. We tried a two day trip (8 hours each day, so 4 days of just travel for a 12 day vacation, figure that one out). It went something like this: Scream (Lucy)/Whine (doggie), flail in carseat (Lucy)/scratch bottom of dog crate (doggie), more screams and whining (two legged and four legged creatures respectively), sleep for an hour (both), repeat. For 17 hours total. And that is just one way.
So being the intelligent parents that we are, we decided to drive the entire 17 hours in one day upon our return to NC. I mean, how bad could it be? It's only ONE DAY. Needless to say, that day is another reason why Lucy will remain an only child.
And yes, we did the whole thing a second time a month later.
Which is why for Christmas this year, mommy and baby Lucy are flying to see family, and daddy is driving. I am hopeful to get an upgrade, so Delta first class passengers, you have been warned. Here comes the L-bomb.