Her giggle contorts her small face and makes the dimple of the left side of her mouth collapse into itself. Her belly shakes and the joy is very real, very honest.
Then, it is gone.
She throws herself on the floor, looks up at me, baring her teeth, and says, "Go awaaaaay!"
The tears flow and her sobs evolve into little screams gulped between large puffs of air.
She reaches out and slaps my leg. "Nooooo!" "It's Miiiiiine."
My brain hurts. I want to run away. I make a face at her and stick my tongue out. I know, real mature. But, I am at a loss. I honestly don't know what to do or say.
She laughs and sticks her tongue out, "Ahhhhhh."
A tear is still traveling down her cheek, yet her mood has already returned to happiness.
"Oh, mommy," she says hugging my leg.
I am stunned. Her mood changes as effortlessly as clicking through channels on the TV. All I can think is that my child is a monster. I have to wonder, do all toddlers have a split-personality? Or, is it just mine?
Disclaimer: I know she isn't a monster or bi-polar. But, I am not exaggerating when it comes to the mood changes. If my mood went through as many fluctuations in one day, I would get myself on some serious meds!
Like everything I have endured as a mother, I know that this is merely a phase (I pray!). She is learning important life skills and these outbursts are just her way of learning how to express herself. My job, so it seems, it to guide her along, teaching her how to communicate her feelings.
Lesson one: Open mouth and stick out tongue...this is universally understood as say "you are driving me crazy, so there!"