Audra is officially a tantrum-thrower.
They call them the Terrible Twos, but I'm pretty sure that's just a reassuring lie they came up with so people would think they had more time. Sometime within the last week or so, seemingly at random, Audra discovered that she could actually throw a serious fit.
So far as I can tell, the idea came to her fully formed.
She really mastered whining at the exact pitch and volume to really dig into my eardrums a couple of months ago, but that was about where it ended. The occasional protests she put up when expected to let go of a toy for thirty seconds in order to put an arm through a sleeve hardly even counted. We got past them so quickly.
Oh, how lucky we were back then.
These tantrums are to those earlier little fits what a puddle on a rainy day is to the kind of torrents that created the Grand Canyon.
They. Are. Epic.
We're talking total rigidity if she's in our arms, her first indignant cries building up to a serious shrieking of mythical proportions, crocodile tears that have be forced out of her eyes through the sheer violence of her anger, little fists and feet pounding on literally anything within reach, whether it's the floor or Mommy. She flings herself backwards as though she plans to exact her revenge by killing herself on the concrete driveway outside our house.
It's possible that she's not so much suicidal as trying to cause us to die of embarrassment when the neighbors glance over to see what sort of apocalyptic showdown must be happening at our house. Luckily, our neighbors have small children, too (or they are the grandparents of small children), so mostly I get these kind of understanding nods as I attempt to pick up a 25-pound-toddler who suddenly weighs three hundred pounds and is as rigid as a board to carry her back in the house.
Part of the problem, of course, is that at the moment these tantrums are so new that they are also pretty funny.
There is nothing so ridiculous as watching a child who just managed to grow taller than my knees rage so mightily at being denied the ability to eat a dime she found under a box.
While she beats her feet into the floor and wails at the ceiling, I can't help but laugh at the sheer absurdity of it all. Of course, this only makes the whole thing worse, because now I have not only denied my daughter that all-important copper and nickel snack, I'm also denying her her dignity.
My current method of dealing with these tantrum-flares, since they have only really happened at home so far, is simply to walk a few feet away and go about my business. "Go ahead, get it out of your system," I say without raising my voice at all. I don't know whether she can even hear me. "Let me know when you're finished."
After the longest thirty seconds-to-five-minutes of my life, she seems to just wear out all at once. She goes still and quiet.
"Are you feeling better?" I ask without looking at her - that only encourages her to start it up again.
She scoots over to me, still determined to refuse to walk without assistance even though she absolutely can, and little arms are held up. Little eyes look up at me, wide and very blue.
I scoop her up immediately. I don't know how long I'll be able to soothe her by picking her up - I plan to make the most of the time I have.
"Do you feel better?" I ask.
"Bah buh mah-boo, nuh too ka," She says softly, and lays her head on my shoulder.
I reply, "I love you, too."