Delusion, my name is Stephanie.

Elliot’s afternoon snack coincided with doggy dinnertime.  He held in one hand an orange snack cup full of goldfish crackers, and with two baby-blue eyes intently focused on the brown, crunchy snack (i.e., dogfood) enjoyed by the dogs, he offered up a trade.

Two goldfish crackers for you, Cruiser, and I’ll just nab a wee handful of these yummy little nuggets in that bowl over there.

Cue redirection of 14 month old.

He reacted to redirection by putting his sippy cup in the dogs’ water dish.

“No,” both verbal and signed.

As his coup de grace, he stood up and stomped to the hallway, paused directly across from the closet door, and looked up at me.  He flounced (no other word for it) to the floor and crossed his arms over his chest, and kicked his feet.  As I watched, he turned those—now glaring—baby-blues toward me, which he then followed with a huge belly laugh and a smile.

At first, I was impressed.  He had just put himself in Zach’s time-out spot and I thought his display was him mocking Zach’s reactions to time-outs.  And I laughed.  My next thought was more ominous—maybe Elliot was demonstrating how little regard he will have for time-outs when it is his turn?  So not mocking Zach, but rather, mocking me.

I choose to believe Elliot was mocking his brother.  I’d much prefer to be the mother of an emotional genius than the alternative—the mother of a mischievous kid who prefers asking for forgiveness to asking for permission.  My brain acknowledges that this was a peek into our future together.  A future where he guffaws in response to my attempts to stop him from doing whatever the hell he wants to.

Look at him.  Does he look like an “ask permission,” kind of guy?

I will hold onto my delusion of his genius until my therapist forces me face reality.  Wouldn’t you?


Okay, who’s with me? How many of you will honestly admit there are certain behaviors exhibited by people (both large and wee) that are guaranteed to make your teeth grind and fists clench?  Some things should definitely produce those reactions.  One of those shouldn’t be your 3 year old dumping a glass of cranberry juice on his younger brother.   Or the insistence of same child that naps are optional– despite offering bribes…er, rewards.  And, really, is it that big of a deal that your 1 year old continually insists on emptying all of the pans out of the cabinet so he can river-dance in a wok?  Probably not rage-inducing activites to most normal people.

Some events cause what I deem acceptable rages.  For instance, when your $65 dollar bra is washed with jeans by a husband for whom laundry is a forbidden chore.  Or the squirrel that has been using the front gutter as a highway for weeks only to decide that the warmth of your attic is a better home than the giant oak tree.

Most days when one of my kids starts to throw themselves to the floor (Elliot) or beat the wall in anger (Zach) I can respond with a sigh and deal.  Most days I look at the display with a bemused expression of disbelief.  Is it really that big of a deal that I cut the apple instead of giving it to him whole?  Or that I dared to serve a chicken rice casserole or chicken noodle soup for dinner?  Really?

It occurs to me that one of the reasons I handle temper tantrums reasonably well is that I’m still– at the ripe age of 33– having them myself.