It’s father’s day and I’m feeling so frustrated with boo. Every meal, every bath, every bedtime is a fight, a struggle. He’s understanding every word I say but he doesn’t want to listen to me. He wants to do everything his way. I think he’s exercising independence, digging independence. It’s hard on both of us. He’s at an age where he’s really vocal, expressing his needs and desires, and getting pissed off when I don’t understand. He throws tantrums where he tenses up, gets bright red and growls like a bear who can’t find a way into the honey jar (what’s up with the honey metaphors?). He used to do the same thing when he was littler, but now he’s more mature so I take it more seriously.

On top of it, he’s transitioning from two naps to one, so he’s exhausted by the evening and he’s hungry but won’t eat. In addition to his usual pickiness, he wants to feed himself, which he can do to an extent, but he doesn’t get much, it takes forever, he ultimately gives up, so in the end he’s not getting enough food and probably feeling hungry but he doesn’t want me to feed him, he wants to feed himself. Throw teething into the mix, and my poor baby doesn’t want to consume anything much but breastmilk, and you should see the tantrums when I try to explain rationally that we’re not going to have milk right now, but I’m happy to get him some water if he’s thirsty or a snack if he’s hungry, we’ll have milk at bedtime, blah blah.

So there are all these things contributing to our time together being frustrating for both of us. I try to sit back and let him be. If he doesn’t want to eat, don’t force him. But then I have to put up with his ripping off my shirt at all hours, in public, wherever, waking up more in the night to nurse, being a zombie the next day. I try to go with his program before bed, let him read however many books he wants to read, not be a slave to our routine, but it just goes on and on. He throws them all on the floor, then wants this one, that one, not this one, not that one and I start getting fed up, especially when I’m tired, when frankly I’m feeling sick of him and just want him to go to bed so I can finally be alone for the first time all day.

The other night I was out to dinner with some friends and my friend Julie, mom to adorable Luc, was saying some days she’d rather do anything, any menial job than be a mom and Melissa told about this friend of hers was said there are these guys who sell dirt on a lot in Texas and she drove by the other day and thought, “ I want to do that. I just want to sit on a lot and sell dirt,” ’cause she was so over taking care of her kids. And Melissa turned to me and goes, “Not Andrea. She’s just totally high on the mommy thing. She loves it.” I nodded: embarrassing but true. Here I am, not two days later, ready to ship my kid off to boarding school at 15 months (is that what they call daycare?) rather than spend another day with him.

And then I’m making dinner and I hear his little voice over the monitor, sounding so sad: Ma! Ma! Mama! And of course I run and he’s there standing in his crib, sad pout on his lips and I sweep him up into my arms and hold him and nurse him and rock him until he’s ready—he just needed a few more minutes with me—to get back into his bed, cuddle his moose and curl up to sleep, and I’m in love all over again, was in love the whole time, really, just wish we could understand each other better, wish I got a break, wish I wasn’t so damn tired, but love him love him love more than anything, God, I love this child.

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