Come on. You know you have a favorite kid.

My biggest fear when pregnant with my second child wasn’t that I’d agreed to *yet again* allow an entire person to exit through a hatch clearly designed for entrance only. Surprisingly, it also wasn’t that I’d agreed to *yet again* subject my favorite body parts to essentially being raked across a cheese grater every two hours while breastfeeding that rogue traveler. In retrospect I should have been afraid of my ability to make sound decisions, but instead I spent ten long months worrying that I wouldn’t be able to love this new child as much as I loved the first.

My second pregnancy started when the first human being I had grown was a few months from being anointed into the mythical order of the Terrible Twos, and ended before we were ushered into the Shittastic Threes. For those not initiated, the Shitastic Threes, which I’ve been duly warned are not as bad as the Fucking Fours, are far more treacherous than the year spent dealing with the slightly cantankerous behavior of a two-year-old. Two is a hyperbolic myth perpetuated by parents who have yet to look a three-year-old in the eye and speak to them. About anything. At all.

A little more after having gone to man-to-man defense in our family, I realize that my fear of not being able to love one as much of the other is in a very contracted, microcosm-of-our-daily-life way, true. See, when wizened parents told me that I would love each kid differently, I think they meant to say, “Sometimes you will like one more, and sometimes you will like the other one more.”

My children have a rotating schedule for who is going to be an asshole each week, with one taking time out as the other acts like a balls to the wall lunatic. Naturally, how that schedule changes follows a logic that can only be ascribed to Glenn Beck, much like the crocodile tears they shed when I look at them for too long.

Pregnant ladies always ask me if it is really that difficult going from one to two children. As sage as a monk on a hillside, I reply, “Do you miss your perky breasts and slender hips?” And when I am talking to other battle scarred mothers of two or more, with a knowing smile I ask, “So which kid is your favorite today?”

Kinda liking the dog more than both of them right now,

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Sorry my kid’s an a$$hole

Since Boogie has turned three I have programmed a shortcut into my phone that allows me to quickly fire off the text, “Sorry my kid is an asshole©,” as we are pulling out of the driveway or parking lot of wherever she has just embarrassed the hell out of me.  I am likely gripping my steering wheel, knuckles white, Boogie in back screaming like a detoxing crack addict, when I get the “hehe, it’s okay,” reply from whomever has had the pleasure of of our recent departure. A reply likely sent while they are on hold to make an appointment discussing permanent birth control options.

I’m really not certain when she figured it out, but somewhere in the last few months she has discovered that having an epic, Glenn-Beck-style meltdown in front of people is acceptable because I can do absolutely nothing to stop her.  Even when we find a time-out corner I have to stand there with her lest she darts away, out the door, and into traffic to avoid standing still for 30 seconds and getting herself together. So let’s call a duck a duck, I’m the one being punished because she’s being an ass. And when we leave because she’s completely lost it, I wrestle her as calmly as I can into the car seat, and as I struggle to avoid flailing limbs while strapping her in, naturally she screams, “Ow, Mom, you’re hurting me,” loud enough for the family services agency in the next county to hear. As a policy, you never negotiate with children, especially when that child is a tiny terrorist who is clearly smarter than you are.

The other day I had to just sink into my mother in-law’s couch and admit, “I am clearly doing this wrong.” I mean, I know I’m not doing it right, but this is turning into an epic mess that will require I accompany her on a visit to therapy to do some reverse role playing technique that will only earn me a disapproving glare from her therapist as I throw myself on the ground when she won’t let me eat her ink pen. While the thought of getting the stink eye from a therapist is certainly disheartening, no one wants to admit to their in-laws that they are screwing up their grandchildren. Ever.

So here we are slowly developing child-induced agoraphobia, and slapping out like a tag team at family dinners taking turns trying to talk the tiny drama queen down from her tree. I won’t spank her, I can’t yell at her, and I certainly can’t reason with her. I suppose I’m just going to be a hostage until she turns back into a human being. I hear I still have about 20 years, but I it is also my understanding that, with a good lock, I’ll occasionally get conjugal visits.

Send help in the form of vodka,
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