A couple weeks ago we left your 3 year well-visit. I called your daddy, & said "yeah, we are A-holes. We are totally the A-hole parents of the year." It's not often that I go around giving myself awards, but in this case I've earned it...for sure.
Let's start at the beginning. Actually, the sad part is I'm not really quite sure when the beginning started. It just seemed like the end of December was full of tantrums, scream like a ferile animal tantrums. Your daddy & I were perplexed & frantic. What was going on? Was it the hype & aniticipation of the holiday? Was it that I was traveling more? Were you trying to fit as much of the terrible twos in the last couple weeks of your two-ness, & petrifying us about the threes (afterall, it's also a "T" age)?
Christmas just isn't as fun when it's full of timeouts. We only put you in timeout once that day, but you probably should have spent a lot more time rocking it in there. There was toy throwing & screaming & crying & stomping. Daddy & I started to ask ourselves, "what happened to our child?" In the last 20 minutes of our flight to North Carolina, we may have thought about telling the plane full of angry travelers "this isn't our child."
It continued through the holidays & even soured moments of your birthday. In the midst of it all, resolutions were being made. I told your daddy that I was going to work at being more patient. He agreed he was going to try as well. Maybe it was the way we were handling it all? Days later, we confessed to each other that you were making our resolutions challenging.
We woke up one morning to another throw down tantrum. I think that time it was about putting on pants. Who knows. Daddy & I looked at you & asked, "why aren't you happy anymore? You used to be happy. What happened?" You looked at us, thoughtful. "Well, when I was a baby I cried a lot." You are obsessed with babies, & some regression had been going on over the past few months. Were you throwing tantrums so you could be more like a baby?
I scooped you up & snuggled you next to me. "Actually, Em, you were a really happy baby. Let me show you." We spent the next 30 minutes watching home videos of your first 6 months. We watched you giggle as you played with Daddy. We watched you beam with pride as you started to crawl. We watched you gurgle & babble to the baby in the mirror while you played in your gym. "So, what do you think? Could you be happy like you were when you were a baby again?" If only it was that easy.
We left later that morning to go to your three year well-visit. They used a machine I had never seen before to check if your ears were clear. Three times your right ear was reading funny, & we assumed it was malfunctioning. You have tubes in your ears, after all. The doctor checked himself just to be be sure. Uh Oh. It was one of the worst ear infections he's ever seen, with the tube in the right ear completely blocked.
We should have known. With so many ear infections, you start to see patterns. When you're in pain, you have trouble expressing yourself & the behaviors you had been exhibiting are typically what result. We had been told that if your ear got infected, we would see fluid draining from them, & we didn't.
But still. We should have known. Instead we were losing our patience & asking you why you were so whiny. It's our job to protect you from pain. Instead, we just got frustrated with you. To think of how long you suffered. Christmas. 4 flights. Your birthday. Poor, little girl. Seriously, A-hole parents of the year right here.
Once you started to take antibiotics, we could tell you were feeling better. Our sweet little Emma was back. Your daddy & I have also started to handle things differently. We're not perfect...we never will be, but hopefully we'll be better.
I love you so,