You don't need to be the next pop princess to have the makings of a diva. No, all it takes is one week of unadulterated attention, the freedom to run around without any clothes on if you so desire, an entourage of extended family members to cater to your every whim, and meals always topped off by a "special treat" and viola, you, too, can create your own pint-sized prima donna.
Since returning from a weeklong vacation, the past few days have been difficult for Madeline, who became quite accustomed to a life of limitless "special treats" and "snicky-snacks," late bedtimes, and round-the-clock playmates. Now she only has one mommy who can't always immediately meet her needs (or her peculiar wants such as allowing her to continue to wear a dirty, stained t-shirt for the second day in the row). She's going through detox right now and it’s taking its toll on her. I'm not available 24/7; I’m serving her healthy eats and insisting on naps to help her catch up on sleep; I don’t play with her constantly. She, in turn, is whining, crying and throwing fits a lot more often. Take this morning. I asked her if she wanted cereal and fruit for breakfast. You would have thought I was asking her if she'd eat tripe (entrails made from animal stomachs - yes, some people actually eat the stuff) by the way she threw herself to the ground in despair and started screaming. I begged her to settle down. She did, briefly, and asked if she could have a peanut butter sandwich. I could live with that, so I smeared PB across whole wheat bread and gave her some pineapple on the side. Then for about 10 minutes she refused to sit at the table. She wanted to eat on the floor and when I said no to this request, she pleaded with me and asked to sit on my lap to eat (impossible at this point since I was now nursing Rae at the table). She finally acquiesced to join me at the table if I would put her booster seat right next to me, as in our chairs had to be touching.
Once I had her seated practically on top of Rae and me, she demanded that I cut the bread. I wasn't going to get up and get a knife since I was still nursing, so I carefully broke the sandwich in half with my hands. "NO!" she screamed. "With knife! Don't break it!" Too late.
"I'm sorry, but I've already broken it apart," I said. (Why was I apologizing to this irrational tyrant?)
So she refused to eat it. "Fine," I said. "You don't have to eat breakfast."
Soon it was time for me to attempt to put Rae down for a morning nap. Madeline followed me upstairs like a wounded puppy. I started rocking the baby gently in my arms and just as she was going limp, Madeline loudly announced she was hungry and wanted to eat her PB sandwich.
"You'll have to wait just a minute because I'm getting Rachel Marie to sleep now," I whispered.
"No!" my diva shouted. "I'm 'hungee.' I want to eat NOW."
This went on for another 30 minutes until I finally lost my cool, regrettably shouted at this child who I sometimes forget isn't even 3 yet, and resorted to putting her in her room for some quiet time. "You are grumpy," I told her point-blank. "You need to settle down." Which she eventually did and that horrible PB sandwich was also eventually consumed, as was the pineapple.
"Pineapple is my favorite fruit now," she informed me. Good to know. I wonder if this taste preference will change by tomorrow. I'll just have to do my best to stay one step ahead of this demanding diva until the detox process is complete.