The Barbaloot will turn 2 this December something or other and as everyone who has raised or currently is raising soon-to-be humans knows, the even numbered years are the worst.
Of course with the understanding that she is my child, the Barbaloot is pretty bright and well ahead of the curve with regards to her ability to manipulate the people around her. She only says two words on a regular basis, “Mommy” and “Nooooooo,” but that hasn’t stopped her from terrorizing everyone with whom she comes into contact.
In the manner of Nearly 2 Year Olds everywhere, the Barbaloot is not even remotely subtle. She turns on the Fit (complete with crocodile tears) within seconds of encountering something she doesn’t like and is perfectly willing to carry on at the top of her lungs for hours. Her personal best with me was 45 minutes. I am absolutely certain that by the end she had no idea what made her mad to begin with, but she’s committed to her cause and will fight as long as there is breath in her body.
So here’s the thing: I’m old now. I have only a few short years before I keel over dead and someone pretends that they really liked me as a person and that I’ll be sorely missed (don’t worry, such declarations are hardly ever legally binding). I only have so much energy in me for disciplining the children. In fact, I would guess that on any given day I only have the energy and patience to deal with 2 out of the 3 girls in the RW Clan.
So what happens when the Hobbit smacks the Gnome and then the Gnome gets angry and bites back, and now there is a full-blown MMA fight in the living room? (In case you’re wondering the Gnome wins routinely. Her finishing move is a variation of the People’s Elbow followed by a classic arm bar.) If I’ve already had to have it out with the Barbaloot over denying her an 18th viewing of Paw Patrol, then that means that only one of the other two will receive any attention. I do try and split the difference; on Mondays I’ll chastise the Hobbit for hitting and then losing the fight and on Tuesdays I’ll admonish the Gnome that we don’t beat up our older sister even if she was being a witch.
Ultimately this feels like a flawed system, but I haven’t yet figured out an alternative. I suppose that I’ll just have to tough it out and hope that my rotational parenting style doesn’t cause too much permanent physical or psychological damage to the girls. For sure it’ll cause me irreparable harm and I’m beginning to think that this, more than anything else, is responsible for my growing number of Extremely Blond hairs. On the upside, I hear that parenting becomes much easier when they turn 25 or so (at that point, they only want money), so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice, I think.