Everything takes twice as long as it should. Should? Well, twice as long as when I do it for her. I suppose Sophia is not on a schedule.
I lift her up into her highchair. “No Mommy. No lifting Sophia! I want to do it. I want to do it!” Tantrum ensues.
I buckle her car seat. “No MOMMY LET ME LET ME LET ME! I do the TOP and you do the BOTTOM.” I have to unclick the seat belt and wait as she does it herself, before I am permitted to check if it is secure.
I wash her body. “NO SCRUBBING SOPHIA. Back Away, Mommy! BACK AWAY! THIS IS MY BODY! YOU HAVE YOUR OWN BODY!!!” Believe me: I would be perfectly happy to go back to washing one body each day. The only problem with this is that Sophia is not yet able to wash her own body. Left to her own devices, she would contentedly sit in the tub for hours, without ever lifting a wash cloth, singing and putting cups on her toes. The bath devolves into a wrestling match.
This scrubbing protest, in particular, really captures the sense of invasion she feels as I perform these daily activities of living for her. I try to imagine what its like to not only have no control over these things that happen to you, but to know that even if given the opportunity you can’t do them as well. The body simply has not caught up with the brain. If it had, Sophie would be in the driver’s seat.
Literally. For it was just the other day she said, “Mommy, you sit in my chair [car seat] and I’LL drive.”
Most of the time, I can approach sit back and admire Sophia’s independence. Her take-charge attitude. Her aspirations of competence. I can approach the situation with humor. I can be five minutes late to where-ever we are going. I know that this is a phase. It will be short-lived. As a friend pointed out: The more they do for themselves, the easier it gets. A little frustration now is worth less work in the long run.
But there are times when I get impatient. When I can’t wait those extra three minutes. Maybe I’m short on sleep. Maybe there have been too many incidents of its kind that day. Maybe I feel some inexplicable need to exert my parental authority. Regardless of the reason, these are the moments I regret—either because of the Wrath of Sophia or because I am engaged in battle with a two-year-old. A battle hard fought and rarely won.
We’re on the same team. I was never going to take her for granted. I love her, damn it!
But I’m human. If there is a secret to not getting triggered, I haven’t found it. But if this is any indication of what thirteen is like, I better start looking for the answers now.