They Weren't Kidding About Terrible

Describing this phase as "The Terrible Twos" is not a cliche — it's an understatement. Here is her rap sheet over the past few days:
• Frequent hitting, mostly of the mother
• Kicking, screaming, violent opposition to getting dresed
• Refusal to get into carseat
• Refusal to have diaper changed
• Refusal to sit in chair and eat
• Constant, yelled demands for food, different food, cold water, dropped items and generally "NO, NOT THAT!"

I know you're thinking, she's two, how can she win? We are bigger, we drive and unlock doors, WE ARE THE PARENTS. But we are losing. Yesterday something very bad happened, something I swore Jason to secrecy about and am deeply ashamed of, yet I cannot help but write about.

I spanked her.

Jason and I were trying to wrestle some clothes on her, and inexplicably, she was flailing and screaming. Maybe it is not inexplicable, maybe it was the fact that we were running late (we now have to add an extra 30 minutes to any departure process because multiple time-outs must be accounted for) and when we are running late, which we are a lot, Lu and I get into this stress spiral where she senses that I really want her to do something and she, naturally, does NOT want to do it. N-O-T not. She was thrashing her limbs, and I smacked her on the butt. And we all gasped. And I ran into the other room to give myself a time-out.

It was a truly horrible feeling, not because spanking is the very worst thing in the world, but because in that angry moment, spanking could have been...beating. I am sick over hitting her, because even that fairly benign smack flies in the face of all the things we are currently trying to teach her. Like, you know, don't hit people.

I went back into her room, where she was letting Jason dress her (a dismaying discovery: spanking works). I said, "Lucy, I'm sorry I hit you. I should not have done that." I gave her a hug and a kiss, and she seemed not to even know what I was talking about. Two-year-olds are more forgiving than their parents, it seems.