it started out sweet enough…little monster awakes, happy to see big brother, and enjoys getting him off to school. we come home and have fabulous pumpkin (and chocolate chip) muffins for breakfast.
we play, read books, sing and spin around until dizzy and laughing, we collapse on the floor (ella can do this more often than i – so i watch many of the repetitions from nearby on the floor). we have our tickle time, and change various diapers and clothing.
then after a delicious lunch, including a new word (juice!) nap-time ruined everything.
sometimes ella will sleep if i have her strapped into her ergo carrier and bounce on an exercise ball while we watch project runway. today, once i sat down she grabbed my face and, making her “eeeeeeeeee” is for effort grunt generally reserved for opening packages, tried to rip the skin off of my face. i switched to “Martha’s Sewing Room” because ella seems to enjoy Martha Pullen’s sweet southern accent on most days. she bit me. i am bruised. not only my ego, but my arm. purple and black in the shape of a tiny, violent mouth.
i was crying. i had to cry. i went in the bathroom (a place i’m not usually “allowed” to go alone) and shut the door. she pounded to come in, but i couldn’t take any more of her pinches. the little hands (usually so adorable) came reaching under the door like tentacles in a horror film, where the victim is doomed in her tiny hiding place because she was too stupid to leave the house when the monster appeared. i couldn’t leave the house. i’m the monster’s mother.
finally i emerged, at a loss for what to do next. we went into ella’s room and i sat on the floor and thought of what i must have done to raise such an aggressive child. i started crying again and she began opening her armoire drawer. i didn’t even want to think about what i’d have to tidy up once she finally did fall asleep, so i didn’t even look.
she brought me a pair of shorts (put away for summer) to dry my eyes. i thanked her and she went back to the drawer and reappeared with a pair of bloomers and tried to wipe my eyes for me. i thanked her again. once i had seven articles of clothing-kerchiefs in my lap, i asked ella if she wanted to hug me, since she was clearly trying to communicate something.
she hugged me so tightly, it could only have meant an apology. we climbed into her bed to read some books. i asked her if she wanted me to hold her and she nodded her head in assent. i picked her up and strapped her into the carrier again. within a minute she was sleeping.
i don’t know if i’ll ever understand what that violent interlude meant, or if it’s simply something toddlers “do,” but i hope it never happens again. she awoke from her (our) nap around 6 when her other brother came over for the weekend and was her usual, happy, silly, lovey-dovey self. i butted the highchair up against the sink while i made chocolate chip cookies (for J’s return, to surprise him) and she played and watched, and chatted the entire time. se was so happy to be included in my cooking. daddy the traveling hero arrived around 7 for dinner after his long day away in new york, and she was thrilled to see him.
she even went to bed “on time” around 10 with no fuss. she has clearly forgotton her 3-hour outburst. i haven’t, but i’m relieved my sweet girl is back.