Tuesday, April 27, 2004


Somehow I got on the mailing list for Parenting magazine. Perhaps someone I once offended cruelly purchased a retaliatory subscription in my name--I sure as hell did not. Yet it appears in my mailbox, bearing my name, once a month. Why? Why?

Articles entitled "How being a mom changes you--down to your soul" (May 2004 issue) have the same effect on me as the intrathecal morphine shot I got during labor (translation for you lucky birth virgins: creepy skin & barfing). "Easy strategies for Potty-training success!," another offering from the issue, also threatens a migraine. My three-year-old could write the book on how to turn your parents into hyperventilating stuttering red-faced fools. Simply announce "I have to go potty" and then immediately become extravagantly distracted from said goal.

She makes her announcement, instantly halting all adult conversation, then suddenly feels moved to arrange her stuffed creatures just so. A Jihad against her older sister for playing with a newly-treasured toy develops. Parental intervention is attempted ("potty!"). She literally shuffles her feet as she reluctantly heads in the general direction of the bathroom ("hurry!"). She breaks rank to come and scold us for yelling. Disaster ensues. Ultimately resulting in alcoholism.

At times like this sites such as this can be very soothing (misery, meet company):
If I had to come up with one word to describe toddlers, it would be this: "relentless." From the moment Cordelia is up, she goes. And goes and goes and goes, at full speed, and when she gets exhausted, she doesn't slow down, she just explodes into furious, screaming rage that is even faster and more energetic. And, if at any time during this process, you attempt to defy her by, say, making her wear pants, she will throw a book at your head.
Scientific confirmation of youngsterian evil is even more comforting. A Canadian researcher has concluded that Saint Augustine had it right (credit Futurepundit); human viciousness peaks in toddlers (a paraphrase, admittedly):
The science says that there is no difference between the baby who snatches a toy from another child, and the burglar who fights you when you catch him stealing your television. "It is exactly the same behaviour," Dr. Tremblay suggests. "It is just done by a bigger gorilla."
Our gorilla may not weigh much, but she's well versed in mental cruelty.


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