I love you when you’re cranky

Whew. Some days. I need to put my feet up, eat a loaf of chocolate and take a five-hour nap just to have the oomph to go to bed.

This blog post was going to be a mushy love letter to my daughter about how I love her no matter what, how her little laugh is so wonderful. Well, it is (her laugh wonderful and this post a love letter), but this week has been too hard to write a gooey valentine. Drama and stress abound, at work, at home and with friends and family. Plus, Antonia is getting a new tooth or a cold or both, and for the first time in years, I’m not sure what I will do this Memorial Day weekend.

Tired baby
What makes you think I’m tired

Antonia spent most of the evening crying Thursday night. She was upset because a girl at daycare didn’t want to share her toy. Well, she was upset because she was tired. We’d woken up at 5 a.m. that morning. As I went to set her down so we could put on her shoes and leave daycare, she bit me on the shoulder.

At home, she wanted me to carry her everywhere. She clung to my ankles sobbing as I tried to make dinner. She wanted more oranges and no vegetarian beef (my father-in-law wouldn’t blame her on that one). She wanted to sit on the big potty, not her Elmo potty. She didn’t want to take a bath. The bath water got in her eye. She wanted this, not that. It was one of those days.

“I want Mommy,” she pouted at dinner.

“Mommy’s at work,” I reminded her, wiping some yogurt off her chin.

“I see Granma, Granpa, Honey (their dog),” she said after bath, her way of saying that she wanted to see them.

“Soon. Hopefully this weekend,” I promised, trying to position her diaper while she squirmed by the toilet. “We can call them.”

“I see Granma, Granpa, Honey,” she repeated, her lower lip sticking out.

Calling wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough. She had a tantrum as I wrestled her into her pajamas. In a daze, I got one of her favorite blankets and carried her to the couch.

My partner came home while we were quietly reading my new favorite book, “My No No No Day” (So perfect. Thank you, Dolly Parton). It was finally calm and serene, as if Antonia had been perfect all day and hadn’t had tears the size of my heart rolling down her cheeks just minutes ago.

We read another story and cuddled. She said, “Night night, Mama” as I laid her down in her crib, as sweet as can be.

Night, night, sweetheart. You are my darling, my precious one, even when you are crying and cranky, even when I am cranky and want to cry. I will always love you, no matter what.

Even if I can’t carry you all the time.

Laura Carpenter lives in Anchorage with her partner and daughter.

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