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Elmo, Bathing and the 5 stages of grief

My daughter turned 19 months and I’m grieving. Where did my little happy pre- two year old go? She fights me about getting in the bath, does the most amazing backbends while I’m buckling her in her car seat and just the other day, threw a bowl of chili on my boyfriend.

1. Denial: This can't be happening to me, I read the mommy books and followed the directions and she’s not 2 yet. The books said 2! 2? When did I get so old. I can’t be this much past 35 yet, or can I? How long can I get away with telling people I’m 35. I can’t believe I have to lie about being 35. And did my child throw all those books on the floor at the library?…no, no, deny, deny.

2. Anger: Why me? I can't believe I gave in and brought a Princess nightgown to bribe her to take a bath. And a bath Elmo. And a Dora island. And another bath Elmo. And bath crayons. And her own special soap... aaarrrgghh now she's in the bath but why is she using Elmo's toy bath to dump water on the floor....!!?!

3. Bargaining: Please God, pleasepleasepleaseletherbetiredenoughtogotobedafterherbathtonight mommyneedssomemommytime and mommy time starting at 9:30 is just not cutting it when mommy can barely stay awake past 10. what were those things mommy liked before Penelope, what were they called? oh, yes, books...Pleaseplease Please I promise I’ll do something religiousy. I swear. To you, God. And I won't use my usual swearing words.

4. Depression: I am overwhelmed with feelings of helplessness. When did she get that much taller? How’s she learn to move that box so she could stand on it to reach things (When did she get as smart as a monkey?) and then toss them onto the floor? Or even worse, hold onto them and scream bloody murder if I try to take any of those things, even the ones with serrated edges, back. My phone, my pens, my bills, coins... Woe to me my therapist is on vacation this week and last week too. i'd go curl up in bed and stay in bed if only i thought for one minute she wasn't going to put the pens and coins in her mouth as soon as i stopped watching.

5. Acceptance: Sigh. She’s mine. As my dad used to say, it sucks getting older but just think of the alternative. Besides, I hear the 3s are supposed to be terrific.

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