Here on Nussdorferstrasse, a name which translates loosely as Street in the Little Town of Unrepentant Screwballs, I have had occasion to think of that old sci-fi movie about the little town in England which gets taken over by a gaggle of monstrous Aryan children. These little blond darlins' are so well-behaved, so perfect...until they use their awesome psychic powers to make Papa drink a Drano smoothie! Ha ha!
Replace the blond, blue-eyed munchkins with an Ethiopian princess and a fuzzy-wuzzy, Rock'em Sock'em Robot, and you will have a good idea of my life lately. Or at least last night.
V. was sweet and adorable until she winged her bottle across the dinner table, grabbed our sharpest knife, screamed at the top of her tiny lungs for the fifth time, and smacked Anette in the face for the sixth.
Adinah was (and is) less explosive, but somehow harder to handle. She's whiny and temperamental, sometimes nasty, increasingly picky about what she'll eat (basically only the white Trinity: pasta, potatoes and rice), and somehow often dissatisfied. In other words, she's a five-year-old. Only I worry that there's something else...bugging her. She gets bellyaches, and she's had diarrhea off and on again for two weeks. She's probably not sleeping enough.
Last night, after exhausting my last gay nerve, she walked into the living room, and flipped on the tv. I turned around and told her to turn it off. She did, then she threw the remote on the floor. And smiled very sweetly at me. Just like her sixteen-month-old sister would do (see That Horrible Synchronicity Thing).
I, erm, lost it. Barked "That's it," picked the kid up and hauled her into the bathroom, fully intending to brush her teeth, stuff her into her pajamas and march her summarily into bed. Instead I grabbed a towel and started (vigorously) drying off her hair, which was still wet from her bath, and she started howling like I've never heard her.
Luckily, Anette intervened, although I don't know what I would have done next--possibly made her watch all two hours, plus Special Features, of that goddamn Barbie DVD she got from the library. Cooler heads prevailed, and Adinah was in bed twenty minutes later, with her pride, unlike my dignity, unscathed.
After I wrote some of the above, I spoke to Anette again today, and she mentioned some study she'd seen that found that kids that get a new sibling often regress back to infantile shenanigans. But even before she said it, I thought, 'Maybe Adinah just wants to do some of the demonic sorta stuff lil' V. does.' I couldn't blame her for wanting to be a baby again sometimes. God knows V. is always trying to do the five-year-old stuff she sees Adinah doing.
The challenge for me will be to try to treat them both with some bit of understanding and equanimity. And of course, to avoid their awesome psychic powers.