Nobody can throw a fit like my Ruthie.
I wrote that much while shut up in my bedroom trying not to listen to Ruth scream her lungs out just outside my door. Wow. The fits this girl is throwing these days. Last Tuesday’s lasted 20 minutes straight. Full-on, high-pitched screaming, flinging her body hither and yon, flailing and wailing. Twenty. minutes. straight. Why? you might ask. What had your poor little girl so upset? What are you denying that precious girl?
She needed to get her diaper changed. Wet one off. Dry one on. Same thing she’s been doing a zillion (or so it feels) times a day since the first one was applied right after they cut her cord. (Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t know how or when that first one is applied. I never got to really see/hold any of my babies for the first little while after they’re born. Maybe, as Hannah suspects, babies really are born with diapers on . . .) So, suddenly diapers are evil. At first they were just a mild annoyance. And we had the couple of weeks when she was removing her diaper at every chance, particularly right after or right before defacating. Remember that? But, really, once we stopped letting her get a bath just because she had feces all over her, she stopped doing that trick.
For a time. A short time. Now . . . now she has a whole new strategy. She just takes off her clothes and diaper at random times. Often when she’s dancing, as if she thinks one must be naked to dance. Here’s hoping she changes her mind on that one. The problem? When you don’t know how to use a potty, you kinda need something to catch your uncontrolled bodily fluids and solids. Blech.
And now, apparently, the diaper has taken on new powers, evil powers, and Ruth feels obligated to fight their menacing way with all she’s got. Here’s how it went down:
Ruth had been nursing and fell asleep–early for naptime. I thought I could lay her down, but she awakened and wanted more milk. I had to get clothes in the dryer (as in I had to leave home in 45 minutes wearing a pair of pants that are wet in the washer. I had no choice but to get them in the dryer.) Ok, Ruth, I know you want more Mommy milk, first I have to put some clothes in the dryer. SSCREAM WAIL FLAIL NOOOOOO!!! Do you want to help mommy? NOOOOOO or do you want to wait in your bed for me? NOOOOOO! Well I have to do it, I will be right back. The washer/dryer are just outside Ruth’s room. She can likely see parts of me from her crib while she wails.
So I return, OK, get some mommy milk, sit down with her and realize her princess pull-up is wet, as in it made my shirt wet. (someone who had leftovers gave them to us, we’ve put them on sometimes cuz she likes ’em and fights ’em less) “Oh, Ruth, we need to change your diaper first.” WAIL FLAIL Full-on tantrum the likes of which have never been seen in these here parts and Isaac and I are gold-medal-worthy in the Tantrum-Throwing Olympics. Or so I thought. 20 minutes of screaming like you-wouldn’t-believe. I fought the pull-up off her; Ruth pulled it out of the trash. I tied up the trash bag and threw it to the landing; Ruth wailed for her Princess diaper, reaching through the gate toward the landing.
Thing is, we don’t have any more princess diapers. “Here are some lovely (generic) fancy fairies diapers.” NOOOOO! WAIL, FLAIL, KICK, YOU NAME IT. I used the bathroom, locking her out. I tried to hold her and comfort her. I closed all the bedroom doors, leaving her stuck in the hallway while I hid in her room. I offered choices. She was screaming for mommy milk but I insisted on a diaper before milk–I don’t want wet pants. Fight fight fight. Ok, Ruthie you need a diaper, do you want Blue, or this green dog, or Periwinkle? Or this fancy fairie, or this fancy fairie? Scream yell fight, etc. etc. Finally I was able to pin her down in her crib and get the diaper on her and say OK, let’s get Mommy milk, but right about then I’d have preferred to get mommy a margarita.
The trend has continued. When I began this post, Ruth was screaming in the hallway because she didn’t want pants on. So I sat in my room and waited until she was ready to stop screaming her head off. Periodically opening the door and asking, “Ruthie, are you ready for pants?” And for the first (long) while, her answer was a vehement, “NOOOO!!!” Well, OK, then, you let me know when you’re ready. And, eventually, she was ready.
So, what am I learning in all this? Well. First, Ruth has inherited my stubbornness with an extra dose of German tossed in. Second, it’s time to teach the girl to use the potty. Third, I just invested in several new play dresses. Apparently the girl prefers dresses. Fine by me.
Maybe I’m messing it all up. Maybe I’m doing the right thing. All I know is what I’ve known for nearly 7 years now. The same thing my mom has told me repeatedly. All you can do is your best. I’m doing my best. And thanks be to God, my best isn’t all this girl’s got going for her. Thanks be to God that first and foremost, she’s his child. And he can do far more with her than I can. I am simply his servant. Seeking his guidance. Doing my best to care for his child as he turns her into the person he’s called her to be. I’m trying to strike the balance between reigning in her terroristic temper and encouraging her to be herself, keeping her God-given intrinsic character and personality intact. Ever seeking, as I have sought with Isaac, to guide her toward using her powers for good and not for evil. I pray she will never know a day when she’s not thoroughly convinced of God’s love for her, and that she will live out her life in response to that love, living her life to His glory.
Meanwhile. I’m a little tired. And thoroughly amused. And head-over-heels in love.