I'm feeling like a bad mother - by which I mean, a mother who's not teaching her children well - or modeling the wrong behaviors or doing something wrong, because boy, oh boy, has Natty been a piece of work lately.
There's been funny "piece of work" things, of course.
For instance, Sam has developed a fascination with toilets (if you recall, we have 6). When I set him down in a room that has a bathroom within crawling distance, his chubby little legs propel him there pronto. I think it started because he loves baths so much and would crawl into the bathroom I bathe them in, pull himself up on the tub, gaze longingly at the emptiness and bang on it. Then he noticed the toilet and it has been downhill from there. He even pinched his fingers in the lid hinges once and howled with pain but that hasn't stopped him. So the other day I was saying "No!" and snipping his fingers while prying him off of it, and of course he's screaming about being thwarted (and about being snipped, but I'm quite sure it was more about being removed from the toilet) and Natty self-righteously told me I was not being a good mommy to make Sam cry and I should go back to Mommy classes to learn how to treat him. Nice.
The darker side is when I tell her to clean up her room and she says she hates me. Oh. My. Heavens. She's 4 years old. What is it going to be like in 10 years?!? Where does this emotion come from? I do all the things parents need to do when it happens - don't let her get away with saying such nasty things, talk about anger and how to deal with it, etc. But, really, it just sucks to have her say that.
On the brighter side, she's an author and an illustrator. She draws pictures on paper, has us staple them in the correct order and dictates a story to us. They all revolve around princesses. Pretty funny.
Sam is the bees knees. He's the cutest little guy. He loves to eat, sleep, laugh, play games and, as we mentioned, explore - especially the toilet. I remember how Natalie just got cuter and cuter around this age and he's on that trajectory.
I know being a mom isn't all roses, but I wish I was wiser, tougher and more able to cope with my darling daughter.