There. I said it. Shocked? Why is this so hard for parents to admit? Of course, I must now rush to add the supremely important next word to the end of that confession- sometimes.Certainly I would never want anyone to think I spent every minute of the day feeling irritated by my own flesh and blood. (There are at least 36 minutes a day when they are both positively cherubic and charming.) Just the mere suggestion that we might not relish our children’s company 24/7 leaves many of us flooded with the mommy guilt that permanently resides just below the surface of our psyches.
The Queen of Attitude (yes, that’s a spongy tiara on her helmet)

Certainly one can imagine the innumerable ways in which a 5 or 6 year old can be annoying: whining, complaining, attempting to rap or sing like a tween pop star, (OK, that’s mostly just hilarious) or the ever popular six year old sulk. But it gets worse- in the past few months, even my baby has begun to dabble in a variety of confounding behaviors.

Around 8-9 months of age, Sophie began to experiment with her capacity to vex Mommy, earning herself nicknames such as The Barnacle (really- when was the last time you saw me without her attached to me?) and the Elbow Spider. (Those who have slept with an infant appearing to possess an impossible number of joints with which to pummel you awake will understand this moniker) She has taken on a number of leech-like traits and makes a point of frantically climbing up my legs at least a dozen times a day while I am attempting to prepare meals or be otherwise useful to the disheartened remaining members of the family.

Any transition requiring a diaper or wardrobe change has quickly become a nuisance. Getting my 10 month old dressed is like trying to get a drunk person into a cab. She has added a new trick to her repertoire of non-compliance; when confronted by an adult trying to redirect her by carrying her away from some temptation, she will raise her arms above her head and go completely slack. One could imagine the dead-weight baby sliding effortlessly through said adult’s arms, and possibly out of her tiny shirt as well. It is akin to a useful skill taught in a self-defense class, one perhaps populated with a collection of diabolical babies.


But she’s so cute.
She has become almost, dare I say it, naughty. On a recent visit to my parents’ home, they had  provided us with a generous assortment of novel toys. It appeared that a 1980s toy store threw up in their living room. And do you think my baby was enticed by this display? Oh no, she preferred to repeatedly pull everything off the coffee table and throw it carelessly to the floor. And then eat it. I get why she’s doing this; she obviously wants to handle the items she sees her adults spending the most time with- pens, newspapers, remotes, phones. Infants never see their parents poring over a pile of brightly colored alphabetical animal cards in their leisure time. But still. Annoying.
Enough said.

Sure, I feel guilty for the moments my children make me grit my teeth and long for a glass of Malbec and a dark, quiet room. But here is the miraculous thing about parenting: we somehow acquire the ability to love our children unconditionally. That being said, we do not have to like every aspect of our lives as parents. To take it a step farther, I believe we actually helpother parents when we admit (out loud) that our kids are driving us crazy. Yet it causes us to squirm to confess to others that we are feeling such negative emotions about our daily motherhood experiences. For the sake of everyone’s comfort, mine included, I will end with a positive thought rather than one final dig at my irksome spawn.

To be fair, most of the irritating things my children do have nothing to do with their authentic personalities, and are perhaps fulfilling some crucial manifestation of a developmental stage. These occurrences are also helpfully balanced with a lavish daily portion of endearing behaviors; my baby has begun to actually hug me now, in spite of her tendency to be uncooperative when being man-handled. She puts her sweet dimpled arms around my neck and sweetly lays her head against my shoulder. (Sigh!)

My oldest, quickly approaching six, amazes me with her astonishing vocabulary as she engages me in genuinely witty banter.

Plus, it won’t be long before she informs people, “Hi, I’m Izzy, and My Mother Annoys Me.”

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