Sheridan was an angel, eating what was put before him, sleeping on a more-or-less reasonable schedule, laughing and cooing on cue. I'd watch the poor parents wrestling their recalcitrant toddlers into their strollers and tsk-tsk to myself. Poor them! Why can't they be more like--well, more like me? I've read Spock and Leach and I could TEACH an effective parenting course, for Lord's sakes!
Then along came Evan. Evan was an explorer, always yearning to know: if I climb out the kitchen window, will it hurt? If I stick my head between the bannisters, will I be able to extricate myself without calling in reinforcements? Evan gave me a run for my money, and for the first time I sympathized with moms and dads who'd lost control.
Rosie introduced a different set of challenges. She was not a daredevil, but rather wreaked her havoc with her stubborn temperament. She was treated with nothing but great love and affection, but when she was in a mood none of that mattered. One day at the bank, I gently pulled her back into line next to me as she started to wander off. "Stop HITTING ME!" she shrieked. Smiling broadly as if to say, "Ha ha. What a trickster is this daughter of mine!" I was inwardly dying.
PJ at 2 decided to be afraid of my mother, his Nana. When she came for a visit, he wouldn't kiss her, he wouldn't let her read to him. He acted as if this benign and adorable older woman was the Antichrist. Mom, understandably, was a tad miffed. It took a couple of years for fences to be mended (they ended up the closest of buds), but it was a trial while it lasted.
Julie went tantrumless for 4 years. Then, one memorable night in a Lewes candy store (when we had company, I might add), she was refused a bag of peppermint bark and all Hell broke loose. As I literally carried a bundle of screaming, squirming indignation out to the car under my arm, I said at last, "OK OK so I DON'T have all the answers! My kids are no better than anyone else's! Sorry God--oh, and can you give me a hand getting Miss Meltdown into the carseat?"
Pride definitely goeth before a fall. Never again did I prejudge a fraught parent/child combo. We are all doing the best we can. And sometimes, the small people we love most in the whole world, are little stinkers.