In December of 2013, my youngest was 2-years-old and, as far as we knew, she exhibited no signs of being the hulk.
Oh how naïve we were back then.
One particular day began like most others, with me manically running around, trying to get everyone ready for daycare and me to work on time (well, more or less on time.) This time, I felt totally in control, so I was a little smug on the inside.
I had Christmas presents bought, a plan for all the family visits, a schedule of all the Christmas parties, and a smile on my face because I was in control.
This day was going to be extra special. Our daughters were going to be putting on a Christmas concert, so I left work early. I went into daycare and couldn’t help but notice that everything was so well put together by our wonderful daycare lady. She made treats, and she taught the kids songs. It was a perfect Christmas scene, with decorations and delicious smells of cookies baking. The way she pulled it all together made it look like she hired Martha Stewart. Her tree was up and decorated much better than the tree at our own house and she had way more little hands to keep away from it.
We loaded up on food and then settled in to watch the Christmas program start. It started and went on beautifully…for a little while. My eldest daughter sang like an angel and used the props they had made flawlessly.
Then it took a turn.
When they were on the second to last song, I started to notice my youngest daughter becoming agitated. She kind of looked like a cornered animal, searching for a way out. And when I saw her turn and look at the little girl next to her, I remember thinking ‘uh-oh’. Before I could do much else, she made some sort of battle cry or shriek of anger. Then she slapped the little next to her. The girl was maybe 3. Her face showed what all of us felt… extreme surprise and shock.
I am embarrassed to say that I didn’t react fast enough. She hit her again and then again. I sat there in shock thinking surely this can’t be happening… my child would never do that (and also this is not on the schedule!!!)
Finally, I got up to grab her and told her to apologize. She ended up giving the little girl a big hug and apology. I think we all held our breath waiting to see if her hug was just a clever fake out to put her in a submission hold. But it proved to be a true hug.
I learned something that day. Sometimes the holidays will hit you upside the face no matter how great your plans seem. Sometimes you have to disengage in the planning ahead and really be in the moment. In case you have to save someone from your raging 2-year-old daughter.
So, even when you think you have everything planned out and you’re totally in control, you likely aren’t. It’s best to just enjoy the moments and the people around you, because you never know what’s coming next.