Dr. Jekyll & Little Miss Hyde

I would like to discuss the ever changing moods of young children. Some days I feel like I live with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

It’s like living with a dangerous explosive.

It’s like bowling in a mine field. It can be downright terrifying, actually.

One moment everything’s great. Life is peaceful, I love the giggles and teachable moments and snuggles. And then, for no apparent reason and with absolutely no warning, the DARK SIDE emerges. The alter ego I’ve been dreading. The storm clouds descend and hover above us.

The sweetness & light vs raging against the machine in mere seconds.

As nearly all children do, my youngest is experiencing, shall we say, an “inner conflict” lately. Is it caused by a growth spurt? Too much attention? Not enough attention? Too much sugar in her diet? Too much fiber? Not enough fiber? There are too many possible causes to really nail one down. I just don’t know. In fact, no mother can ever REALLY know what exactly causes these periods of intense behavior swings.

But, life must go on, multiple personality disorder or not. After all, she’s pretty darn cute with her curls and big, brown eyes. That’ll buy her some forgiveness should the need arise in public, right?

This week I took the girls to the mall to get haircuts.

The calm before the storm?

First appearance of the dark side: the 4-year-old went totally ballistic because she didn’t get to go first. On a scale of 1 to 10, it was merely a 2 or 3. Hardly worth mentioning, really. She huffed and puffed a little and quickly found other things to distract herself with as she waited.

After I put out that fire and assured her she would be next, she proceeded to wander to the container where combs and brushes were soaking in barbicide. It was just more than she could bear to not dip her hands in the blue water. This resulted in our third trip to the restroom. You’ll remember that we discussed public restrooms and kids last week.

After that, she experienced an unexplained phenomenon among four year olds everywhere involving her feet. I really think the Dr. Jekyll side has bigger feet than the Mr. Hyde side. One of her shoes hurt really badly, so she just absolutely couldn’t bear to wear it one second longer.

Fine. This was not a battle I was willing to fight. Take off the shoe and sit down. Finally, I got her settled down looking at People magazine.

A little bit later, it was mercifully time to put her in the salon chair.

She climbed up and was all smiles, until THIS happened:

Stand back, folks.

She HATES having her hair sprayed. I mean REALLY hates it. These are the moments that make my knees knock just a little and the hair on the back of my neck stand up, because I know the level of retribution it can bring.

And yet, as kids are prone to do, she just sat there quietly and totally angelically happy when the spraying was over. I breathed a sigh of relief for the safety of the hairdresser.

When the haircut was over, my happy little child sprang up from the fun swivel chair, plopped herself down in one of the chairs with the hairdryer vents, and looked at me expectantly.

The hair dryer chair. She found out about these the last time she accompanied me on my hair appointment (Which, if you’ve never had the pleasure of the sitter canceling on you so you get to take a crazy person with you to a place where you’re confined and must try to watch her without moving your head, it’s totally fun and relaxing. You should try it.). Since then, they have been the reason she gets up in the morning. She’s pretty much been living for the sacred moment when she gets to use the hair dryer chair.

I asked the hairdresser if she would allow Leighanne to sit in it for a moment, and to all of our great delight, she agreed.

She was like a little old lady. Her legs were swinging happily back and forth since she couldn’t reach the floor. She clutched her magazine and enjoyed a peppermint. All she needed were sponge curlers and house shoes on her little feet (except that she was still on her shoe strike at the time).

Who knew???

I marveled at the wonders and intricacies of the four year old mind. This is the same child who totally and completely freaks out if I ask to blow dry her hair at home. It takes too long! It’s too loud! It burns my head! NO!

And yet, the allure of the hair dryer chair proved to be greater than her distaste for actually having her hair dried.

Note to self: check into installation prices for getting one of these babies in my home.
P.S. Also check on electric hand dryers as they are sure sells when it comes to having to wash hands (another very unpopular fact of life in her opinion).
P.P.S. Make a point to rig her bedroom door so that I’ll be alerted when she emerges from her bed under the cover of darkness.

You just never can tell when the dark side will make its next appearance.

Be careful out there, mamas. It’s a dangerous profession we undertake. They may be small and cute, but they are more dangerous than dynamite.

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