When I was pregnant I was certain my daughter was a boy. I knew nothing of little boys having no siblings or young family members growing up. But for some reason I thought it was the safer gender. The sonogram tech happily pronounced I was to have a girl and my husband's hurt swelled. I laid there covered in clear jelly, panicking at the thought of me dropping her off a block away from the mall while she pleaded through gritted teeth not to embarrass her further with a kiss goodbye. The image dissipated as she slammed the car door in my face.
Girls are mean and hurtful. Its somehow in our nature. I knew upon her birth that at some point I would be crushed by this little princess. Some off hand comment, a result of raging hormones or an irrational reaction to me asking her to do the laundry would cripple me. However, I figured by the onset of her adolescence I'd have a thicker skin, the ability to put her in her place with a quick retort and maintain my reign as mother hen.
But here we are, 22 months in and I have been rendered sad and stunned, fighting back tears as I get on the train after being slapped in the face and kicked at the request for a goodbye kiss. A lump swells in my throat as I watch the car pull away. The same lump that works its way up during the night when my daughter only wants Daddy and pushes me away in the dark. In these moments I stay still, absorbing the hate. Scanning her face for any familiar sign of the cute, loving child that I know. All I see is a goldfish flinging monster who clearly doesn't want to have anything to do with her mother.
My husband tries to console me, reminding me that she is not even two and likely just going through a phase. My friend who has survived this phase tells me its indeed just a phase. I know she is just a toddler who now wants her way and this behavior is temporary. However, when I'm offering hugs and instead have to dodge an angry flying camel figure while driving, my heart can't help but deflate.
Am I a victim of bad Karma? Is she mad I'm out of the house working all day? Is this because Daddy gave her pizza for breakfast? I'm at a loss and keep feeling that with everyday she grows, another part of what keeps me one up on the score card gets subtracted due to her lack of interest.
Last night she continued her streak of rejecting nighttime routine. The one time of day I know I have her all to myself when we read stories, learn letters, and end with mother daughter snuggles. It has been replaced with screaming, kicking, variations of "No!" and demands to sit on the couch with her father, leaving me and Mickey on the glider wondering where we went wrong. After two hours of this my husband escapes to bed and I wrestle her defiant body next to me in the chair.
I shut off the TV and she whines, "No! No snuggles!"
My eyes are closed and my voice a whisper. "Just stop saying no," I plead, hoping she can see how tiring it is to fight.
She finally closes her eyes as if she doesn't have anything better to do. She looks like my baby, still and angelic as she falls asleep. "I love you," I say, and realize the power I really have as I kiss her nose. That no matter how mad she can ever get at me I will always shower her with my overbearing love. Because I'm her mother and its well known that the weight of parental guilt can easily bring someone to her knees.