I tend to ask myself, “Is this just my fucking life now?”
I’ve been asking myself that a lot lately followed up with, “Is this just what four-year olds are like??”
Four has been a weird ride – from beginning to get in trouble at school for making bad choices, to becoming a know it all, to being the sweetest and funniest, to rebelling against any and all directions/requests/demands, to being a great helper, all the way to being a lazy sloth child one day and a maniac professional wrestler the next, Matty has really been experimenting this year with his independence. And my tolerance.
It’s been a lot to take in. For a child who spent years one, two and three being the sweetest rule-abiding citizen I’d ever snuggled, he really seems to be going ALL OUT in year four.
Right now, he’s at the point in his life where he is in constant competition with Bot. It doesn’t matter what it is, Matty will turn it into a competition and he *coincidentally* always wins. Whether he’s comparing who’s oldest (yeah, he doesn’t quite get that birth dates are fairly concrete), who’s biggest, who’s fastest, who knows the most letters and numbers, who got the most M&Ms all the way down to who brushed their teeth fastest even though both of their toothbrushes are on the same automatic timer, it’s a competition. You name it, it’s game.
And while it doesn’t annoy Abbott because he cherishes the ground Matty walks on, it bugs the living shit out of me. I mean, I can’t even sleep in without having to lecture Matty (again) on what it means to be humble.
The other morning Matty came into our room where Bot and I happened to be sleeping. Mornings where Matty isn’t sprawled out across our bed, digging his stubby toes into one of our backs are basically non-existent. But this specific morning, Matty woke up in his own bed. So, he snuck into our room, crawled up on top of the bed and over Abbott to nuzzle his head into my shoulder and whisper into Abbott’s ear.
“Abbott. Abbott. Are you awake?”
“Mmmmmmm.” Abbott responded with an adorably tiny and sleepy groan.
“Abbott, guess what? I get a sticker! You don’t though. Do you know why I get a sticker and you don’t?”
Suddenly, I was fully awake and fully annoyed.
“I want a stickerrrrrr.” Abbott started to whine.
“Well, Abbott you don’t get a sticker because you didn’t sleep in your bed all night. But I get a sticker because I DID sleep in my bed. Right, Mom?” Matty’s eyes widened with sick excitement.
“Matty, you only slept in your bed all night because your dad fell asleep in there.”
“Well, I still slept in my bed.”
“I WANT A STICKER TOO!”
“Ugh. Matty! Don’t talk about all the things you get and the things he doesn’t get. It’s not nice. What if I gave him candy and not you and he came up in your face to tell you all about it??? Let your success speak for itself!” Matty stared at me with the most confused look on his face as I rolled out of bed and stumbled out of the room.
“But, Mom! I DID do it! And I DO get. a. sticker!” Matty hollered behind me.
I mean, Abbott couldn’t even celebrate his birthday in peace (which, yes, is partially my fault for bringing Matty along on our special day) but I thought for maybe just ONE day Matty could really try to make it about someone other than himself. I thought WAY wrong. That night, after tucking the boys into bed, I sobbed on the couch. Not only had I ruined the enjoyment of Bot’s birthday for everyone except Matty, I had somehow grown a miniature self-absorbed, winning-obsessed, selective-listening, compulsive sweet-toothed, tantrum-throwing monster who had zero humility and zero regrets.
Seth did his part to talk me off the ledge but now I just walk around asking myself, “Is this just my life now?!”
I didn’t think this was supposed to happen until he was, like, 11. Did a demon possess his soul when he turned four? Is this going to be in an episode of the Chilling Tales of Sabrina and I’m going to find out I’ve actually birthed a witch via Netflix?
Is this just my fucking life now? When do my kids start thinking I’m cool and do everything I ask/say/suggest?
DID I ALREADY MISS IT?!?!
Does any of this even make any sense?
WHAT YEAR IS IT?!
AND HEALTHY SNACKS.
THIS HOLIDAY HANGOVER ISN’T GOING AWAY.