There are some things you just can’t prepare for when it comes to being the parent of a toddler. I’m experiencing one of those things now and it’s a little disconcerting. Here it is: Toddlers call you on your bullshit. Like, all the time. You cannot get away with anything with these tiny little creatures. They are mean little mirrors that reflect back to you every bad behavior, shameful moment, and verbal tick you’ve ever had, and they make no apology for it.
Admission of the day: I don’t like to share. At all. No, I’m not an only child, I’m not an asshole, and I can only guess my mom tried her best to teach me how to share, but I don’t like doing it. I like my privacy, I like my personal space, and I like my things to remain untouched by, well, everyone. It sucks, I know, and it also makes me not the easiest person to live with. You know the saying, “Mi casa, su casa?” I hate that saying. This is sometimes a source of tension between Josh and I. For instance, he always wants to share my drinks, and usually when he tries to do so I death stare him into putting the glass back on the table. OK, so maybe I am an asshole. Now, my no sharing philosophy doesn’t (and can’t) apply to Hailey. She’s not intimidated by mommy’s death stare yet and she will happily touch all my stuff, lick all my stuff, and promptly lose all my stuff. And that’s ok. I let her and I don’t even mind. But she sees me. When Josh steals a french fry from my plate and I give him stink eye, when my dad rearranges my tupperware drawer until it’s unrecognizable and I nearly faint, when I remind my sister about a book she borrowed and never gave back, Hailey sees me. She watches this behavior and she mirrors this behavior. And what do you know? My toddler who hasn’t yet learned how to share…has learned how to not share, how to be stingy, how to say “mine!” When I ask Hailey for something and she replies, “mine,” runs away, then throws it as hard as she can, I think, “what a shitty thing to do. Where’d she learn that?” Oh yeah, she learned it from me. I’ve been behaving like a stingy 2-year-old. So what’s a mom to do? Lighten up, that’s what. When you become a mom, you just have to lighten up. There is no mine. There are no boundaries. There’s just sharing. My mean little mirror told me so.