After almost every interaction with my two year old daughter, I wonder, “Will that be it?” That being the moment that I repeat so often she’ll seek therapy for her neurosis, or whatever the affliction will be that will drive her to seek outside counsel when she grows up.
Will it be because I sneak up behind her to squirt hair detangler and follow it up with quick (often hard) bursts of brush strokes to *finally* get the knots out of her bedhead? Or will it be the fact I shove an iPad in front of her face to avoid the screaming that comes with a diaper change? Speaking of diaper changing, will it be the couple of days I tried to potty train her, except she wasn’t ready and sat there in her own pee until I discovered her wet, cold and shivering as she played with her toys?
Maybe it’ll be that I let her watch Monsters Inc. and regularly she now says she’s ‘scared’ of something or another. Or that I let her lay on the shower floor at the public pool (“So far so good--no fungus!” I recall thinking at the time). Will it be that one Saturday I let the TV babysit her because I was just too tired to take on any outdoor family adventures? (“Dinosaur Train, dinosaur train…”)
When I tell her she has to eat the tomato before she can have a cupcake? Is that the breaking point? How about when I give her Benadryl on long flights? That’s probably it. Or will it be the frequent, often back-to-back “cool down” sessions in lieu of spankings that will hurt her in the long run?
Parenthood is one big second-guessing-yourself game. You don’t really know what *to* do, you just know what *not* to do. So when I don’t know what to do, or my angst of being in charge of raising this amazing tiny human gets too much, I just hold her. I hug her; I kiss her till she begs me to stop; I tell her I love her 10x a day.
And the other day—for the first time—she looked up at me and said, “I love you too.”
And I thought, “At least she’ll tell her therapist she loved me.”