Living with Honest Girl is like living with a slightly smaller, and angrier, Joe Pesci.

Here’s a small reenactment of earlier today.

Honest Girl: You’re trying to put me down for a nap?  I do not understand this, as I do not see Green Monkey anywhere around.  You’re trying to put me down for a nap without Green Monkey?  You’re trying to put me down for a nap without Green Monkey??  Where is Green Monkey?!  WHAT DID YOU DO WITH GREEN MONKEY?? Ma, I swear, this is why nobody likes you.  This is why you can’t finish that dissertation.  You’re a failure.  You’re an ignoramus.  You’re a joke.  This whole family’s a joke. You suck like a Hoover.  DON’T YOU TRY TO GIVE ME THAT SOCK MONKEY! You think I am fooled by a sock monkey?? That’s it.  Say goodnight to goodnight.  I will never let you sleep again.  I will never let your husband sleep again.  I will never let Grammy and Doodah sleep again.  Do you hear me? I will take your . . .

[Grandma comes in with Green Monkey, “Sorry.  I took him downstairs earlier and forgot to bring him back up here.  Here ya go, sweetie.”]

Honest Girl: Ehhhhh.  Look at this lady, huh? Will you look at this lady?  C’mon, Ma, it was a joke.  A joke.  You know I love ya.  C’mere.  You want some sloppy baby kisses? Huh?  C’mere and let me give you some sloppy baby kisses.  Awww, there, that’s better.  Ha!  Do I love this lady or what?  Okay, Mommy, nighty-night.

That is, truly, only a small exaggeration of the last half hour.

The thing is, I know that Honest Girl’s recent tendency to have multiple, violent tantrums and freak outs over everything is a sign of her growing understanding of the world, as Dr. Harvey Karp (the amazing, genius, somebody-give-this-man-a-damn-Nobel-Prize brains behind The Happiest Baby on the Block, and the only person who ever managed to get my then-newborn to stop crying and actually sleep) explains in his The Happiest Toddler on the Block.  He claims that, developmentally, toddlers are at the level of “cave men.”  They don’t have the developed frontal lobe that helps them to logically understand their emotions, and this stunted growth also means that they certainly don’t have the language skills to talk it through (and that, like a Wise Guy, leads them to lack morality, empathy, and sympathy.  They really are little criminals).  But at the same time, they are at a point where they’re starting to understand that some things are out of their control.  And, what’s worse, that a LOT of things are out of their parents’ control (it’s like finding out that God really is Alanis Morissette in plaid boxers).  So toddlers will go from going “ape shit” to going “Jurassic” in the span of about 3.4 seconds (of course, I’m paraphrasing Dr. Karp’s words here, but the ideas are basically the same).

It just proves that, 64 millions years of evolution later, my precious, intelligent, totally-smarter-than-your-kid-though-I’d-never-say-it-out-loud-or-to-your-face daughter is really still just a walnut-brained Tyrannosaurus who’s frustrated because she has an itch on her belly that her tiny T-Rex arms can’t reach.

So it’s a sign of development.  It’s a sign of her maturing brain and its awesome assortment of complex connectivities.  It’s a sign that my daughter will, someday very soon, get a grasp on the concept of a world bigger than her, and she will be able to start tackling it, and articulating it in her very own words, in her very own way.  Hooray.  Yay. I have a normal toddler.  Let me break out the punch bowl.

And then drown myself in it.

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