Do you believe in love at first sight? If not, then I’m guessing you’ve never met a two-year-old with a brand-new Disney Princess sticker. The instantaneous love and devotion that a toddler can have for a sticker is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Like, stage five clinger type love and devotion. Borderline obsessive love and devotion. The ability to destroy any hope or prayer of even the possibility of having a good day for anyone who comes in between that child and that sticker…it’s astounding. Really.
Let me back up.
A couple of months ago, I went home to visit my family for the holidays. My sister, Melissa, who currently has an infant and a toddler, invited me to stay at her house for the week. Melissa told me that the only thing she had to do that week was take her four-month-old, Millie, to the doctor for a checkup. She said that it would be great if I went with her so that she could bring her two-year-old, Charlotte, and then we could all go to our parents’ house for lunch afterward. No big deal. I was happy to go along.
The night before the appointment, Melissa told me that we needed to leave the house at 9am. So, I got up around 7, had my coffee and something to eat, and then got in the shower around 7:30. I was just leisurely getting myself ready, completely oblivious to the total chaos that was going on around me. I was straightening my hair when Melissa walked into the bedroom with one kid on her boob and the other at her feet. She was trying to wrestle a shirt onto Charlotte’s wriggling body and asked me if I was almost ready. I told her that I was and asked, “Aren’t you going to take a shower?” She looked amused as she told me that she didn’t have time to take one. I, of course, felt like a total asshole for not offering to watch the girls while she took a shower and got ready. But in my defense, I’m not used to having to worry about anyone else in the morning. As long as my dogs poop, I’m good to go.
When we were all ready to go, Melissa started piling up the load of crap that we apparently had to take to the doctor with us. There were coats, diaper bags, bookbags, books, toys, and god forbid we forgot to bring the entire Peppa Pig family with us. We went out to the car and Charlotte had to show me how to buckle her into her car seat because I’m as useless as tits on a bull in that situation. Finally, we were all loaded up and strapped in and on our way to the doctor’s office.
It wasn’t long before we got there, parked, unloaded all of the crap, walked in, and were ushered into the exam room. I promptly sat down on the tiny chair in the corner and Charlotte promptly began threatening me to read books to her. Who knew that toddlers could be so terrifying? The doctor came in and asked Melissa to undress little Millie so that they could begin the examination. The second Melissa undressed her and took her diaper off, Millie peed all over the exam table. Melissa looked flustered for a moment, but the doctor told her not to worry about it and they began the examination.
I read book after book to Charlotte, while listening to Melissa and the doctor talk. I didn’t hear a single peep out of Millie the whole time, not even when she got her shots. I realized that I was beginning to lose Charlotte’s attention when she began crawling and rolling around on the floor in true Madonna fashion. She was picking up every little thing she could find and ignoring my best efforts to redirect her attention back to whatever book I had been reading to her. The exam was over and the doctor brought in a sheet of Disney Princess stickers for Charlotte for being such a good big sister. Finally, we could gather up all of the crap again and leave. The only problem was that Charlotte was not ready to go. Dramatics ensued.
In a split second, Charlotte went from being deeply, madly in love with her new stickers to screaming, crying, and refusing to leave. Melissa picked her up and carried her into the waiting room, where she attempted to schedule their next appointment over Charlotte’s wailing. I was carrying little Millie in her little carrier and she was as quiet as could be. Just a sweet little smile on her face as her big sister launched into a meltdown of epic proportion. We made it into the hallway before Charlotte realized that somewhere along the way she had lost one of her stickers. It didn’t matter that she still had the rest of the sheet of stickers. She had lost one and all hell broke loose.
Melissa wrangled Charlotte up and began speed-walking down the hallway, out the entrance, and to the car, in heels, mind you. Meanwhile, I was carrying little Millie in her carrier and I was getting legit winded trying to keep up with Melissa, even though Millie is so tiny and I was wearing sneakers. We made it to the car and after what I can only describe as a scene from The Exorcist, we were all loaded up and strapped in again. Melissa started saying that she didn’t understand why Charlotte’s behavior was so bad. I said, “Isn’t that just what toddlers do?” She said that it was, but she felt that Charlotte’s tantrum was extreme. I said, “For god’s sake, Melissa, she lost a sticker! How would you feel?! Can’t you understand what she’s going through?!” We both started dying, laughing. The kind of laugh where you can’t catch your breath and actual tears fall from your eyes. And then, after all of that, we had to take the girls to our parents’ house to have lunch with our mom, who has advanced Alzheimer’s.
Moms of infants and toddlers, I have no effing idea how you do it. I couldn’t imagine leaving that doctor’s office to do anything other than go home and eat a gallon of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream while soaking in a bathtub filled with my own tears. Seriously, I think I would cut off my own ears just so I could have some peace and quiet. Sometimes, at night, I can still hear the screaming. “My sticker!!! My sticker!!!” I really don’t know how you do it, but I do know one thing. Hell hath no fury like a two-year-old who has lost her newly acquired Disney Princess sticker.