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News & Features » July 2018 » “That Time I Almost Lost My Sh*t” by Kimberly Crow

“That Time I Almost Lost My Sh*t” by Kimberly Crow

Are you a parent going through the Terrible Twos? Did you live through them and survive? Terrible Twosdays is a place to commiserate over the unending shenanigans of your Darling Children (as the online parenting communities say). Nonfiction stories will be considered, so long as names have been changed to protect the guilty. Inspired by our best-selling gift book for parents, Go the Fuck to Sleep, Terrible Twosdays joins the roster of our other online short fiction series. Unlike Mondays Are Murder and Thursdaze, we’re looking for stories with a light and mischievous feel, all about the day-to-day challenges of parenting. As with our other flash fiction series, stories must not exceed 750 words.

This week, three-year-olds are the worst backseat drivers

That Time I Almost Lost My Sh*t
by Kimberly Crow
Three-year-old

The urge has risen several times to completely flip out at my daughter, who has repeatedly proven the Terrible Twos is an actual phenomenon. I remember thinking I couldn’t wait for my toddler to turn three, effectively ending this reign of irrational and absurd behavior.

Three came and I remained patient, understanding an exact cutoff is developmentally impossible. I calmly explained that milk from a yellow cup tastes the same as from a red one. When my daughter scolded me for finishing (and ruining) the monkeys jumping on a bed song, I took it in stride (I do have a awful singing voice). I didn’t even take it personally when she told me once with a straight face, “I love Daddy and I love Brother, but I don’t love you.”

Yesterday was a true test of my stamina when it comes to remaining objective and adult-like in the face of three-year-old nonsense. We were leaving my son’s nine-month doctor’s appointment, during which my daughter was well-behaved, even shy. It was such an uncomplicated event, I figured maybe I finally had this parenting thing under control.

My daughter wanted to buckle her own seatbelt. Great, she’s taking initiative and becoming more independent. The more routine tasks she can do by herself, the better. I started to back to car up.

Tersely, I was told, “I’m not ready yet, Mommy!” but I heard the final click of the belt and kept going. There are two exits from the parking lot. Apparently, I chose the incorrect one.

The torrent of demands began.

“BACK THE CAR UP, MOMMY!”

“I WANT TO GO OUT THE OTHER WAY!”

“TURN AROUND, MOMMY!”

Time to go home.

“I’m not turning around,” I said.

Recognizing she was tired, I continued driving, expecting her to end this charade soon and pass out. Not the case. Ten minutes of weaving around the streets of our town, I was still being berated. I had never heard her scream so loudly or so passionately. My son was unfazed and snoozing, no doubt thinking, Eff this, I’m going to sleep.

“TURN THIS CAR AROUND NOW, MOMMY!”

“ANSWER ME!!”

“You didn’t ask me a question,” I told her in an annoyed and snarky, but otherwise peaceful, voice.

“TURN. THIS CAR. AROUND. NOW.”

“I WANT TO GO OUT THE OTHER WAY!”

“STOP!”

I abruptly stopped the car. (Relax, we were on a neighborhood side street.)

She paused, but then yelled one more time her deep-seated opinion of parking lot logistics.

I jerked the car into reverse and then jerked it into drive. I had no intention of returning to the doctor’s office, but somehow this act of literally turning the car in the other direction appeased her. She sat drooping in her car seat for a minute, head bowed, and eyes half-shut. Almost to Sleep Town.

A few more turns and we were there.

Staring wide-eyed at the road, I took a few deep breaths. What just happened? No seriously. What. Just. Happened. I was at a loss for explanations, my mind spinning and repeating the drama. The sudden quiet in the car seemed unnatural. I drove slowly as to not upset this new environment and, once home, sat in silence in the driveway for a minute to reflect.

Three plus years of parenting had taught me never to let a toddler get 1) too hungry, or 2) too tired. Was this outburst my fault, stretching nap time too late? Was I wrong not to consult my daughter on our route home? Is my child insane?

So much of parenting is remaining logical when your children are not. But when a situation is so illogical, it’s almost impossible not to lose yourself a little in the madness. Luckily, I kept some of my cool. And thank the greater powers for making my daughter fall asleep when she did. Otherwise, I may have caved. Maybe I would have finally lost my sh*t.

***

KIMBERLY CROW is an accountant living in Massachusetts with her two young children, husband, and roughly three billion LEGO pieces. When she’s not working or parenting (or picking up LEGOs), she’s writing women’s fiction novels and blogging about everything from motherhood woes to traveling to being in denial about getting older. Always in the mood to watch a first kiss scene or read, she also has a passion for running, ice cream, and spending time outdoors with her family.

***

Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Terrible Twosdays flash fiction series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines:

—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should focus on the challenges of parenting. Ideally, stories should be about children aged 0 to 5, but any age (up to early teens) is acceptable. Stories may be fiction or nonfiction.
—Include the child’s age at the time of the story next to your byline.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Jul 24, 2018

Category: Original Fiction, Terrible Twosdays | Tags: , , , , , ,



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