Quivering Lips

My 2 1/2 year old daughter has the unique ability to make me angry and hysterical at the same time.  There’s is nothing like trying to be firm and authoritative with a wide-eyed, witty toddler interjecting commentary that makes it impossible to stay mad, let alone keep a straight face.

Yesterday my daughter, who has been potty training for the past few months, intentionally wet her pants.  Mommy wasn’t happy.  I knew she needed to go and yet she stubbornly stuck her chin in the air and informed me she did not.  A minute later her jeans looked like she sat on a sprinkler.  I angrily hauled her into the bathroom, sat her on the thrown and began my lecture of why it is important to be honest with mommy and not dirty her pants.  She sat there staring at my flushed cheeks without an ounce of concern.  Her eyes sparkled at my entertaining performance of The Taming of the Shrew.  When I paused to ask if she understood, she nodded yes and quickly asked “mommy, are you saaaaaaaad?….are you going to cryyyyyyyy?”  She wasn’t worried about my frail disposition.  She was clearly enjoying her mother’s weak grasp on sanity and was excited at the prospect of an emotional climax to it all.  Turkey.  I wanted to throttle her and burst out laughing at exactly the same moment.  I stood there as my lip quivered through a suppressed giggle.  No way was I going to let her see me laugh.

That experience made me wonder why it’s easy for me to mix laughter and anger with my children, but not with anyone else.  If a grown stranger, friend or family member had pulled the same stunt I would have been even angrier.  Somehow my child’s enjoyment of my angst softens instead of hardens.  Perhaps it’s because I know she isn’t being malicious, she’s just being 2.  Still, it would be a lot easier to navigate life if those who make us genuinely angry were capable of giving us a hardy chuckle at the same time.  Quivering with giggles is much better than quivering with rage.

One Response to “Quivering Lips”

  1. Tricia says:

    Potty training is horrible, and we had to do it twice. Aaron had just trained and then he ended up in the body cast, which meant complete regression. So hugs to you and your daughter for enduring each other and making it through this milestone, which you of course will.

    I really needed to read this tonight. I could throttle my husband right now and I wish I could find some quivering giggles. You’re right, or course, I don’t know why it’s so difficult to navigate life with those adults who genuinely make us angry. The innocence of childhood and the spontaneity of emotion children enjoy is something we should learn to savor rather than lose as we become adults. I wonder how we can recapture that. Maybe I just need to spend more time with little people and less time with adults!