Temerity Jane
09. 08. 2012

I was going to write today about how one of my biggest irrational fears is that doctors will think that I’m a pain pill seeker, so I tend to refuse pain medication, as if that will make doctors take my pain more seriously. As if NOT TAKING PAIN MEDICATION will make medical professionals believe my pain is SERIOUS. I also refuse to finish bottles of pain medication I am prescribed (thank goodness some doctors just prescribe the medication without asking me, as was the case with the recent double ear infection, because I fret myself into a frenzy trying to come up with a NON-SUSPICIOUS WAY to ask for relief from what must be OBVIOUS terrible pain once a doctor has glanced into my head a declared the whole thing a wasteland of infection), because there is a prize for leaving some of the medication in the bottle. Not that doctors can see my bedside table and see the half-finished bottles of medication rolling around there, but they must ESP into my head and think,

“Ah, here is a lady who does not finish her pain medication prescriptions. No, she takes the useless Tylenol and soldiers on. She is not just here for my prescription pad, obviously. This is a woman who I can take seriously when she says she is in pain. She is not peeing on my leg and telling me it is rainy outside. This is Arizona. That would be ridiculous.”

Anyway, no. That’s a thing that’s wrong with me and it’s ridiculous but we can explore that another day. Instead, I’m just going to copy this email I sent to a bunch of people. I was just going to keep it to email because it talks about poo and I don’t WANT to be that mommy blogger who talks about POO, but Phil came home for lunch and I told him I’d sent out a distress call to my lady friends in the Internet box and he agreed that we are in need of HELP and that is what the Internet is for, and —

Look, you already spotted the word “help” and half the Internet is sporting LEGITIMATE REQUEST FOR ADVICE boners right now, so let’s just get to it.


I have a terrible migraine today. And it’s something I hate about myself, but when I get these headaches, I just get SO MEAN. I mean, I just say fuck a lot and yell at the baby and I’m so angry, etc. And I’m trying to be patient and just get through, whatever.

So Pen needed her diaper changed. I took her in her room, changed a disgusting stinky poo diaper and tended to a teething rash. I decided to lay in her bed for just a couple of minutes while she played in her room. Benefits of a floor bed, right?

I laid there, drifting in and out, while she came over ever few minutes to pull my hair, because she’s an asshole and doesn’t want me to ever be happy, when one time she comes over and just reeks of poop again. She’s been having lots of dirty diapers due to the nasty virus ripping around our house, so I gathered myself to change yet another gross diaper when all of a sudden A SHIT CAKE LANDED ON MY FACE.

She was not dirty again. She had found, opened, and UPENDED the previous diaper ONTO MY FACE.


I did not say a word, guys.

Gathered up the shit cake, wipes, and diaper, checked her for poop marks, left the room, tossed it all, washed myself and now here I am. She’s still in her room. After the shit cake, the food and cup throwing, and the angry pinching, I have no plans to collect her until lunch time.

I CANNOT EVEN WITH THIS BABY RIGHT NOW I CANNOT EVEN. She is a DEMON and she thinks that all our attempts at behavior correction are FUNNY. She doesn’t understand a stinking word of English, I swear. She throws her food on the floor at every meal. So what? Give her more? Or she’s just done til the next meal? I don’t know if she even understands that if she throws it, she won’t have any more to eat. She’s already skinny, I don’t want to starve her just because she’s a butthole.

And she BIT PHIL the other night, which is becoming more and more common. She comes up, hugs our legs, and BITES THEM. And she pulls hair. I’ve tried the exaggerated ouch and crying. That’s apparently hilarious. I’ve tried a firm no and that hurts. Funny! I’ve tried walking away, she doesn’t care. She throws books at my face! She rips my glasses off my head! She slaps, she grabs at our flesh angrily when she doesn’t get her way. She throws tantrums when she can’t have something that isn’t hers.

I guess I GET that this is all “normal” toddler behavior, but I’ve never had a toddler, so I have NO IDEA WHAT TO DO. I don’t know how to get her to eat her food, or how to just make sure she eats enough of her food, or how to make her stop throwing it on the floor because I am not made out of dollars or patience. And I DON’T like getting hit in the face with her books and I don’t really just want to wait that phase out because it hurts.

Is it insane to expect some kind of decent behavior, or at least to be able to TEACH some kind of decent behavior to a 15 month old? Am I ridiculous to expect to not be injured in my own home?



Yes. That’s right. The rarest of animals on the Internet, a LEGITIMATE REQUEST FOR ADVICE. I want to know what you’ve done with your toddlers. I want to hear that you and they lived to see two years old. I want to know if you sent them off to live with their grandparents until they were five because THAT SOUNDS FINE TO ME. While I intend to keep all of my FEELINGS and WEEPINGS OF FAILURE to my private email chain of distress and woe, I open myself to the Internet at large to throw your parenting advice at me at will without fear of “I ALREADY TRIED THAT I AM NOT AN IDIOT” or anything like that, for I am an idiot and I need your help.


Penny does a pretty sweet ass Peppa Pig impression.

118 responses to “There is no good cake here.”

  1. Cathy says:

    Okay, so I’m reading through all the comments and wanted to come back to say two things:

    1. Contra what I said above, it sounds like the version of “time-outs” you’re doing may well work for you — i.e., confining her to a safe space and giving yourself a little breather. As you say, it isn’t about “discipline” (a concept I do think is hard to apply to a child this small, and that could lead to expectations on your part that are bound to be disappointed); it’s about monitoring your own need for sanity-restoring measures. That’s awesome. If I really think about it, the reason I haven’t (yet) tried time-outs with my own toddlers is that I actually find it calming to sort of *lean into* the parenting at the moments when I fear I’m gonna blow — that is, to shift out of whatever I’m trying to do other than just LOVE that kid, snuggle them, soothe them, inhale them. Weirdly, it works. But it isn’t about having extra virtue or anything, just about what pulls me back from the brink of rage. It could so easily go the other way, in which case it would be a terrible coping mechanism. So: stick with what’s helping you stay sane.

    2. As I said, I’ve had an easy ride with toddlerhood, both in terms of my kids and in terms of how difficult I find it. For me, it’s babies before nine months who are so, so hard — it just feels so relentless and there’s so little that I get back from it and mine are TERRIBLE sleepers. So, anyway, that’s relevant to you only because my expectations for myself as a baby parent are both very low and very high: I want to be calm and patient and to ACT as tender as possible, but I don’t expect it to feel great, and I try really hard not to give myself any grief about how negative my inner narrative often is. So I’d say please feel free NOT to associate any guilt with how you *feel* about Penny right now: this stage is not the sum total of your relationship with her, and there is a very pure kind of love involved in caring gently for a child toward whom you feel such frustration. Indeed, there’s a way in which I feel proudest of my baby-mothering, because it’s the time when loving my kids is, for me, the least about feeling and the most about doing. You’ve had a very different experience of Penny’s babyhood, which must make this shift so much harder to stomach, but it isn’t a one-way, irreversible turn, I swear, and meanwhile, there is grace here, too — you will be able to look back on this period and say, yes, I do love my girl. I loved her even when I didn’t. And that’s something to be proud of.

  2. Tim says:

    Ok I’m not a mom but, I am a father and more importantly a husband. While I don’t profess to be a very smart person, I would suggest this. It sounds like maybe you and Penny need some time apart. My wife went through this with our two sons who were 11 months apart, our solution was she started taking them to a mothers day out once or twice a week. It gave her the chance to go shopping by herself or to just hang out by herself and just relax. It also gave our sons the chance to develope social skills, which they needed as well. You might just look into something like that if they have one close to you.

  3. Leslie says:

    Okay – this should really work for the biting. Worked with my first child. Lay in wait for her to be ready to bite you, and then suddenly maneuver her own arm/hand onto the bite target so she bites herself. Do it once, and she will never bite you again.

  4. Bill McCurry says:

    The Bean turned me on to you, and I love your work.

    I’ve nominated your blog for The Versatile Blogger Award! No problem if you’re not into these things. For more info see:


  5. Sandra says:

    Wow, I’m late to this party. 111 comments already. I won’t read them all. I’m guessing most say similar things. You’re not alone.

    Toddlers are horrible and make us wonder why we had kids in the first place. It’s still bad at 2, 3 and 4 y/o but in different ways. Ages 5 and up are much better.
    I have 2 daughters for my resume here today.

    In my house hitting and biting was a firm NO and would often result in a time-out in their crib, playpen or high chair. We didn’t have a set “time-out” place but the rule was if they’re 2 they get 2 minute time-outs. When they’re 3 they get 3 minute time-outs, etc. Toddlers are smart and manipulative. I felt proud when I outsmarted them. Which is sort of sad.
    I did on occasion hit back when I was hit or pinch back when I was pinched. “I can hit harder” or “I can pinch harder”. It made them cry and they got the point. Yes, it feels bad and good at the same time.

    As for food and eating she’s at the grazing age. “Meals” are not in her plan right now and won’t be for a few more years. Everything around her is too exciting and distracting to stop and eat while sitting down. I’d say make sure she’s taking a vitamin and just do your best.

    I recommend keeping a cupcake pan on a table at her reach (the dogs might be an issue…this may not work for you) and fill the cups with snacks she enjoys. When she feels hungry she’ll go to the tray and eat. Cut up fruit, raisins, Cheerios, etc. This way she can have a sampling of her faves thru the day as she’s exploring her world.

    P.s. I totally hate thinking doctors think I just want pain drugs too and am faking my illness. I feel so vindicated when I’m put on an Rx because it’s gotten to so bad.
    Hang in there. :)

  6. Michelle says:

    “I AM READY TO GO TO THE GYM, THAT IS THE POINT I AM AT.” – My favorite comment about anything ever.
    I have a 4 year old and a 15 month old. We went to a Love and Logic class. We mostly use Dear God Whatever Works. Remember that your summer has been crazy with surgery and sickness. Also, some days suck and they are grumpy little trolls. Kids this age change so fast. You might look back in a few weeks and not even remember the last time she pinched/bit you. I do find that my kids are less than stellar if they are hungry or tired. Maybe move up the feeding schedule or nap time. Also if I let them sit at the table to long they play with their food more. My doctor always tells me you can’t control it going in or coming out.

  7. BittenUsagi says:

    I have zero advice. All I have is “Thank god we’re not the only ones with this problem!!” Yeah, there was some joy your pain. Sorry about that. Seriously though, if D throws any more food on the floor I’m going to lose it. He actually did something the other day to which I responded with “This is why we can’t have nice things.” Parenting is going to kill me, I swear. Luckily I haven’t suffered a shit cake to the face, though. I… I can’t even.

  8. Amelia says:

    The great thing about this age is that they DO NOT understand time whatsoever. So, you can do as someone suggested and make mealtime “over” for fifteen minutes and then try again. Presumably she wants to eat, right? And the throwing is just for fun? I don’t know, I don’t remember being that age, but my own 13-month-old loves to FEED THE DOG RIGHT FROM HIS HIGH CHAIR. And then we stop his dinner until he calms down (cause he screams when dinner, food he wanted to eat as well as share with the dog, is taken away) and then bring him back. It’s tough. Hang in there. My little guy loves to open the toilet and drop toothbrushes and hairbrushes and all sorts of things in there and we can’t lock the toilet because I also have a three-year-old who only pees when it’s urgent. Grr.