Herewith, a short list:
- She ALWAYS has to go to the bathroom. Still. There is nothing wrong with her, her system–in every way–just moves faster than my other kids, and she goes more frequently, and that is just the way it is. At home, it’s–well, it’s still an annoyance, because she feels that she can’t wipe on her own–but never tells me she’s going to need me, and if I’m out in the yard, the yelling and hollering and level of outrage that I did not appear immediately when called is high. But when we are not home, every entree gets cold, and I miss part of every party, every meal, every anything you could name, because I am in the potty. Plus, it’s Port-a-Potty season. Plus, she finds bathrooms–all elements of them–a source of never ending delight. The toilets! So many! The soap! The paper towel dispensers! The tiny little trash can things on the walls! And if I am in there, of course, she gets my attention, my undivided attention, which can be used to discuss such things as: The toilets! So many! The soap! The paper towel dispensers! The tiny little trash can things on the walls! You get the idea.
- She loves to talk, but has few subjects for conversation, so she likes to really get the most out of the ones she’s got. This means that every day, we discuss, ad nauseum, whether it is a school day, whether she can have candy, whether she can play Wii, whether it’s day, whether it’s night, where we are going, when we will next visit Grandma and Grandpa, whether we can visit Grandma and Grandpa right now…She knows the answer to all of these questions–or at least, she does after the first time she asks. But she likes to keep asking, just to chat. Especially in the car.
- She likes to fall asleep in the car at night–but not really. She likes to pretend to be asleep, get carried upstairs, have a pull up put on, get tucked in and then…get up, having peed in the pulll-up, get another one, and do it all over again for bedtime.
- She likes the dogs. Too much. The dogs need, at all times, to be doing what she wants them to do. She’s finally agreed to leave the old dog mostly alone, but she drags the young dog everywhere by his hair, or his collar if she can get it. If you have the copy of the Olivia book where Olivia is carrying the cat in and out of every room, you’ll get the idea. It isn’t that she wants the dog to go somewhere, it’s that she ones someone–anyone–to do what she wants. So she drags him into my room and shuts the door. She lets him out and drags him into the playroom. She tries to box him in by moving things around in the playroom. Whatever room he’s in, she drags him out; whatever room he’s out of, she drags him in. I don’t want to forbid her from touching the dog entirely. She loves him, and he loves her. But she really hasn’t been able to grasp any limits on this.
- She doesn’t distinguish between a tiny offense-bumping her accidentally with your coat sleeve as you walk by, say–and something more like having her arm ripped off. The noise she makes (and it’s a horrible screely combination of a scream and a cry and a whine) is EXACTLY THE SAME. Which means it’s impossible to tell if someone should be punished or if I should rush to the rescue, or if I should sigh and turn a page. ANd I always, always get it wrong.
I could go on with this list, but I won’t. For one thing, I get annoyed just thinking about some of it. For another, well, it really just goes on and on and on. And it makes it sound like I don’t even like her, let alone love her, and I do. Lots. And my other kids have lists too. They’re just shorter.
What I think is that every stage has its annoying moments, and Rory is going through a whole passel of stages at once. Every one of my kids, at about two and a half, had to turn every bathroom visit into an odyssey. Every one talked and talked and talked when they first got to a point when they could really communicate. And they’re all, still, prone to hanging on to the things I do for them that I do for only them, and “wiping” certainly qualifies. So there’s that.
And then there’s leftover stuff, huge foster family stuff, like the screely noise (which MUST have garnered her plenty of attention). And the dog thing. No one, ever, does what Rory wants to do just because Rory wants to do it. They might agree to play, or work out a deal, or choose something together–but there is no one that she can just tell to do something, who does it. The dog qualifies. She’s manipulative, too–I didn’t mention that. If everyone is cleaning, she’ll poke at one item until everyone else has done all the work. She asks for candy after crying–as in, she had a big boo boo or whatever, and there was a big fuss, and it’s over and…now can I have the candy you said no to half an hour ago? I chalk that up to foster homes and foster nurses, too. If I were a nanny in a foster home, I’d stuff the kids with cheap candy constantly. Why not?
And then there’s stuff that’s just Rory. She has to pee, she really does. And she has a voice that’s best described as piercing, which means she gets “shhh’d” when no one else does, just because her tones carry. Eventually she’ll deal on her own.
So, there it is, my annoying rant about my sometimes annoying kid. I could have posted all the ways in which she is extremely cute–like when she lays on the same dog, thumb in her mouth. Or her new words, which include “awesome” and “cool.” Or her delighted affection for her ice cream shaped silly band. There’s an even longer list of all of that. But right now, I’m on the question of annoyance, and it’s time to look at how the blame should fall on me.
Rory annoys me because I try to do too much at once–typing on the computer, for example, at a time when I know they’re needy. She annoys me in the car because I get tired, and I just don’t want to talk–but if I changed my attitude, it wouldn’t be a big deal. She annoys me when she asks for food right after a picnic because I don’t make her sit down and eat–and I should know by now that she won’t eat if there’s anything better to do, a quality that will stand her will in life. She annoys me because I often don’t want to focus on the kids, and nobody’s more gifted at making a person focus on her than she is. All those things aren’t even a little bit about Rory. They’re about me. Knowing that doesn’t change much (although I have designated big chunks of time as kid time now, instead of trying to multitask constantly, and it’s much better). But it tempers my reaction. It’s pretty easy for me not to react, knowing that I’m only reacting to my own responses. I save the reactions to respond to their actions, now. When I yell because I’m annoyed, I really just ought to go in the bathroom and yell at myself.