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47 Shades of Ava

I look at my youngest daughter Ellie, who is now 1, and smile thinking that maybe this one will turn out ok.  This is in reference to my older daughter, Ava, who is now 2.5.   For the record, I never thought I would refer to my children as 1/2 ages like 2 and a half but its important because its like a light switch went off when she turned 2 and a half and become, well,  fucking nuts!

As her mind is maturing and my greys are getting more noticeable, we deal with 47 shades of Ava. You never know which one you are going to get and they change drastically throughout the day.
Here's how a typical day can go.  Noticed that I said 'can' because shit can change any given second.

Ava will wake and usually wake up her sister.  They share a room.  Back story - before the recession and before kids, my wife and I were doing well (we still are).  We bought a nice big townhome with only 2 bedrooms with the idea that we would move in a few years when we had kids.  Flashforward 7 years later:  We are still here with 2 kids sharing a room.  Thank you banks for lending money to people who cant afford shit only to punish those that can afford shit (me) by reducing my house price to the point that I cannot move until it goes up somehow.  Thank you.

So where was I.  Oh yes.. Ava.

She will wake up and immediately wake her sister by singing songs or throwing stuff at her in her crib. This is good way to see how our day will go.  If she is singing then this can mean that she will be nice to her sister.  However, if she is already throwing things at her in her crib, this means this day is going to suck; well at least for Ellie.

Going into the room can also be astronomic depending on who she wants that day.  For example, if my wife goes in, which she usually does (don't judge me) and for some reason she wants me instead, this will turn into a full blown temper tantrum with yelling and screaming and above all, crying!  Then, like the amazing husband and dad I am who comes to rescue the family in dire need, I come in and play Super Dad.  If I walk into the room the wrong way this can trigger even more bizarre behavior. 

"I want to wear this" as she points to her Minnie Mouse shirt, followed by "I don't want to wear this" as she points to the same Minnie Mouse shirt.  She will then put on the shirt that she didn't want to put on with no complaints and then go on about how she wants to wear her boots, even though we are not leaving the house. 

So as Ava makes her way downstairs wearing her Dora shirt - she finally didn't want Minnie Mouse after all - and is wearing her boots that I had to go downstairs in the foyer to get, we are ready for our next big thrill:  Breakfast!

Ellie will eat anything and everything we throw at her.  Shes like a horse but cuter.  Ava was like this.  But NO WAY IN HELL anymore. 

"Mommy I want eggies and ssammm", says our lovely beautiful toddler.  Sam is ham.  If we try to correct her she will only freak out and tell us that its not said "ham" but "sam".  So why bother.

My wife will then start breakfast making sure the order is perfect for our needy and undeserving customer.  I will then try to get Ava to eat her grapes and anything else I can do to preoccupy her from becoming Lucifer. 

This process starts with Ava wanting to sit next to her sister and will move Ellie's highchair right next to her.  The chairs have to be touching or we will all be in trouble.  And while Ellie is eating her food perfectly like a great child should, Ava is stealing it.  Because why would she eat her own in her own plate.

Which brings me to the next topic:  The plate.  God forbid you get the wrong color plate.  She is very specific.  It has to be the plate she says.  If you don't, well then there is nooo way that she will eat her food.  There is also a good chance that the plate and the food may be thrown all over the floor. Yes.  All over the floor.   So we make sure we ask what color plate she wants first before putting any food on it.
this is our $4 plates from Ikea ;-)

Once the food is on the correct color plate and she has the correct Minnie Mouse spoon or fork - she switches, like her personality, which one she prefers - its now time to get her to eat.    To avoid distractions we have made it a routine to NOT have the TV on during eating time.  What would happen is we would turn our backs for 1 second to look back only to find her sitting on our $3,342 couch with eggs and sam in her hands watching Yo Gabba Gabba.  Noooo fucking way!  So we try to steer clear of distractions.  

Then its 1 bite.  Hit her sister.  Talk sweetly about how much she loves me.  Another bite.  Chew.  Talking about how the light switch is on and should be off.  Another bite as she is now trying to turn off the light with me yelling at her to sit down and not stand on the chair because she will fall and get hurt.  "Whats that" as she points across the room to a random toy that she played with earlier.  Another bite.  "Daddy I don't like this fork" as she puts it down and starts using her hands to eat instead.  "Use your fork", I say.  "I don't like this fork", she screams.  The lights begin to flicker and I can see where this is going.  "Fine" and she continues to talk about kitchen appliances and how Ana and Elsa are sisters and how much she loves Ellie while stealing more of her food.  "I don't want eggs and ssaamm" with Hollywood on-screen crying. "I want French toast".  "We don't have any", I say knowing this is not going to go well and bite my lip.  "I want Daddy toast!!!" and continues to sob like she lost the Oscar to Julia Roberts.  Daddy toast is basically toast with honey and cinnamon.  I make it sometimes and gave her some, hence now its Daddy Toast. So as I am making Daddy toast she is already telling me that she wants a  bagel and doesn't want Daddy toast.  It goes on and on. 

Just a typical morning.

The day will continue with this.  1 second she wants to watch Shrek and then in an instant she wants to watch Frozen.  Her mind shifts from the ball that Ellie is playing with and how its not hers to how its raining outside and we need to get cozy to suddenly singing her ABCs.  

"I don't want this cup"

"I don't want you to hold me"

"I don't want to go to the store"

"I don't want Ellie to play with that"

And the "I don't"s continue all day long along with:

"I love you Daddy" followed quickly by:

"I don't want you to go to Germany" followed quickly by:

"I want Daddy to go to Germany"

"I want Cheeeeeeese"

"I wanna go to Stop and Shop"

"I hold you Daddy"

WTF!?  How did we get there??

If she sees the iPad then she will break you down as she will plea and cry and move objects with her mind across the room, and state that she wants to "play the game Netflix". 

During the day, you have to be like MacGyver doing things around the house.  If she sees you on your phone, she will want it. If she sees you snacking on something, she will want it even though she will fight with you to actually eat it.  So all day long its Ninja stealth actions.

And if that isn't enough, then bedtime comes.  We have been very lucky to somehow be able to get these 2 kids to go to sleep together in their own room at the same time.  Scholars don't even know how we did this - or I should say how Rose did this!  Regardless, it all starts with brushing her teeth, then strip naked and put the clothes in the hamper and the pullup in the diaper genie.  And finally in the bath.  She does this all by herself.   This is the part that I brag about how dam smart my 2 and half year old is.  Too bad shes still has 47 personalities.  If any of these bedtime routines get interrupted, for example: if I were to brush her teeth AFTER the bath,  then this could be bad.

After the bath is when the fun starts.  Ava has been drying herself, putting on her own pullup and her own PJs.  We are very proud of her.  The truth is she is still very bad at this.   It takes her time.  The PJs are backwards and she gets frustrated.  Now, do I help her and risk the demons coming out to take me away into the night OR do I let her do it herself. I usually do both and let her do it herself until she absolutely postivtely gives me permission to help her.  It is only then that I am a GREAT Dad and she tells me loves me.

Then the coughing starts.  Lately she has been fake coughing so that we can get her water.  She totally got us the first few times but now we are on to her.  To not make this a routine, I have to draw her attention to something else in the room:  "Look Ava. What's this?  A brush?" as I take the closest thing to me and start brushing my hair with a book. 

One of Ava's personalities may come out during bed time story time.  While I am trying to read a book, she will take it from me and try to read it.  I am not an idiot.  She cant read.  WTF.  This is my time not hers.  After me yelling because a day of this is tiring and Ellie is now crying because she is scared of this insane man yelling, Ava is jumping fanatically in her bed.  This will continue all night long if we let it.   But we don't and this usually turns into 5 minutes of screaming crying while I am trying to tuck her in while her butt is up in the air saying "nooooo".  Eventually she settles and Ellie is down.  Lights go out and we leave the room.

"I want my blankieeeeee" is then repeated from Ava for at least 25 minutes.  This will usually get Ellie up and at it.   Ava will then start entertaining Ellie while singing songs.   Ellie will just stand in her crib staring at Ava and laugh nonstop.  Sounds from below (me and Rose) can be heard and ignored, "GO TO SLEEP", yells 2 annoyed parents looking for answers. 

And finally.. just like that silence.  The kids are asleep.  Ava's 47 personalities have finally tired her out enough that she can sleep for the night. 

And so as I look at my perfect little Ellie, who is still only 1, I think please please don't become this!  Please stay the perfect smiling happy baby you are now! 

(Ava is sitting next to me, perfect as pie, playing with her ipad. If she knows I wrote any of this, I am in for some shit so I need to say this:)

Who the hell am I kidding, I absolutely love every second of Ava's crazy age and I cant wait for Ellie to become this.  Even though I have lost years of my life, I could not be any more happy.  

She just said she wanted another bagel.   Its dinner time.  And now she is climbing on me.. I gotta go...


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