Do you see the photo at the top of this post? Do you see my daughter's expression? Go. Look at it. Now. See? It is like the expression of a teenager, one who is already embarrassed by everything her parents do and is prepared to let the whole world know with eye rolls and sighs and the most disgusted of side eyes.
It wasn't always like this. For the entire first year of her life, Emily was the most laid-back baby I had ever come into contact with. She was well-behaved in restaurants. She was a good sleeper. She let the other babies I invited into our home physically assault her with nary a peep.
She even handled fireworks with finesse while, meanwhile, a 2-year-old several feet away from us, wearing noise-canceling headphones, sobbed inconsolably.
But then she turned 1 and, in the week since then, she has behaved like me in early high school, which is when I was at my most insufferable.
Wasn't I supposed to have more time to prepare for this? Behold the evidence.
1. She has developed the unattractive habit of slapping people in the face.
Sometimes she uses her nails. I am told that this is a phase many babies go through. But I can't help feeling that this behavior reflects poorly on my ability to parent. At first, I would grab her hand and say "OUCH" and then use her hand to caress my cheek and say "gentles" like a creepy person. Now I immediately put her down and walk away and she makes the Claire Danes cry face and is then distracted by a toy or a cat or a carpet fiber. Lesson: not learned.
The switch from formula to whole milk has been an easy one: she chugs that shit like a frat boy during rush week. But only when it is perfectly warmed. Otherwise, she slams her sippy cup down and then flings it to the side and angry cries. She does the same thing when I try to give her water. "How dare you try to give me this disgusting beverage!?" her gaze says with reproach as she bangs the cup down repeatedly. She seems awfully interested in beer and coffee, though.
The first time she had pizza, I had just fed her homemade chili, which was delicious. It really was. I gave her the last of it because that's how much I care about my daughter. For real. Let me just pause real quick here to pat myself on the back. Okay. Done. Anyway, after feeding Em, I sat down on the floor with her to watch her play as I ate my own lunch: a slice of pizza. I only turned my head for one second, but she used that second to snatch the whole damn slice off my plate. The nerve.
Just this morning, I left Em in my office so I could go grab myself a cup of coffee and, when I tried to return, she slammed the door on me. From a sitting position, because she cannot yet walk. But she is still adamant about showing me who's boss.
7. She rips out her hair bows.
GIF via Tumblr
My husband is very invested in Emily's hair. After bath time, he always combs it carefully into a picture perfect old man combover. It's ridiculous. When I came home with barrettes one day, I suppose I was only fueling the fire. I wonder if it breaks his heart every time she rips them out with an angry pout and flings them to the floor.
Okay. I suppose she'd not doing this on purpose. It's the fault of those adorably chubby thighs she has. But every time I change her diaper and notice that her shorts have ridden up again, I remember that phase I went through in junior high when I wore my dad's old leather jacket and rolled up my shorts so they were even shorter. The fashion choices of young ones. Unexplainable.
And who am I to keep her from realizing her dreams? So I encouraged my mother to buy her this drum for her first birthday. Because I am obviously a masochist. It won't be long before she's smoking cigarettes out in the garage with her band mates and sneering at our neighbors as they complain about the noise.
When I put her down. When I try to give her water. When I try to give her cold milk. When I try to get work done. When her ball rolls away from her. When I pry cat food out of her fist. When the Earth moves on its axis.