A great blessing of motherhood is a faulty memory. It's one of God's primary tricks for getting us to have more kids. You forget the pain of childbirth, to some degree. You forget the depth of the ache while you wait to get pregnant or adopt. Then you forget about toddlers.
It's all coming back to me now. I'm not saying I want out, like I'm going to hop in my van full of french fries and melted crayons and drive west indefinitely. I'm just saying I forgot about the part where they don't sit in your lap, because they are hanging sideways out of your arms, screeching to be put down, so you can put them down and listen to them shriek to be picked up. And though it was fairly recent, I forgot the part where they go to great lengths to spill drinks and break computers.
Lucky for them, God had more tricks and made them crazy cute. "Ehhh?" they say, tilting their heads to the side while juice pours down the wall. "No nonononono!!" they say, giggling while poking you in the eyes in your own bed, while it is still dark outside. "HAPP GUUUUTHDAY A OOOOO" they sing while tossing household items in the toilet. And so you cry sometimes, and you laugh, a lot, but inside, you know that you are insane.
And then it's bedtime, and your back hurts and you have peanut butter on all your pj pants and you haven't had dinner but someone is in your room, smelling strangely like sulfur and brimstone, while emptying your night table drawer, throwing handfuls of tissues and nail polish bottles, taste-testing small fancy chocolates and defacing library books. And for a minute, it's too much. You change the diaper, muttering to yourself, and dump the toddler in a crib and leave the room. Too much, you think. Go to sleep.
And for a minute, maybe it would work. You eye a Lean Cuisine longingly, sweep up a pile of bread crusts and start the dishwasher, ignoring the NEW dirty dishes. And then the whining escalates to panic, as the baby figures out you weren't just kidding. Maybe they'll go to sleep, you say, because you are a little nuts, maybe. Maybe I will ignore the noise.