Wow. I've heard that the thrashing threes are harder than the terrible twos and now I know what they're talking about. I mean, really. And it's so odd, a major see-saw: not only is she impossible when she's difficult, but when she's calm she's really loving and wonderful, more affectionate toward me than she's ever been, in fact.
Today when we were leaving Kidtown everyone was in a good mood and I said, "Okay, let's all hold hands!" Clark held my hand right away and Frances wanted to hold his other hand but he was holding his blanket and didn't want to let go, and then we were in the middle of the parking lot and there was a car behind us so I sort of grabbed Frances's hand and hustled her along, and that was it. From then it was all over. Apparently she wanted to walk on the curb where in her mind she wouldn't have to hold my hand and in the end I had to physically force her into the car, which is so much fun. She's so big now too, and much harder to just pick up and carry to the car like I used to. She got so mad at me and wanted "Daddy, Daddy! I want Daddy!" but when he got on the phone he could only talk for a minute and she erupted in a fresh fury because she wanted to "talk for a while." She truly lost control, everything in the world wrong, and I tried my best to help her but I need a new tactic or something. Finally it was listening to her music in her room that calmed her, thank goodness.
A while back I was reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block but I stopped a third of the way through. I'm going to go back to it and maybe find something that will help. I'll let you know if I discover anything.
And then, an hour later she was hugging me around the middle while she stood on a stool in the kitchen and watched me fix lunch, and over and over she'd gaze up into my face and say, "I love you Mommy." When Mitch got out of his meeting and called back she didn't want to talk to him at all.
One major thing that's changed between us is that I've started napping with her. I've always wondered about folks who nap or sleep with their kids and it was not something I wanted to try. I felt very clear about wanting my own space and wanting them to entertain themselves in theirs. Then one day Frances wouldn't nap so I lay down with her. And she was asleep within five minutes. It was amazing. I kept doing that for a bit, getting her to fall asleep and then sneaking away, and then we morphed into napping together on my bed. It's so cozy and sweet and snuggly and I think it's changed some of the dynamics with us. I think she feels closer to me now as a result. Often before she falls asleep she traces my face with her fingers and sighs, "I love you as big as the house and the road and the sky."
Oh, and a halloween picture, because how can I resist?