I woke up this morning to my daughter’s screams. In a panic, I jumped out of bed and rushed into her room, prepared to find blood and gore and a horrific site of death and destruction.
Instead, I found a tiny blond two year old being strangled by an Elmo T-Shirt.
“Emma, honey, it’s OK,” I knelt down beside her and attempted to soothe her.
She continued to wail, seemingly oblivious to my presence in the room.
“Emma. Stop. I’m right here. Mommy will help.”
She backhanded me without notice and immediately turned her rage on me. “Geh OUT!” she hollered.
“Honey, Mommy will help you.”
Her face was getting redder by the moment and I wasn’t sure if it was from the frustration or a lack of oxygen due to strangulation.
“I do it!” she wailed. “Geh OUT! Emma do it!”
“Emma can do it. That’s fine. Just let me… come here… you’re going to hurt yourself.”
“Geh OUT! Geh OUT!”
I dodged another smack and decided maybe it was best to let the little shit squirm for a few minutes. I left the room and went to begin getting ready. The crying grew louder and more insistent.
After a few minutes had passed, I went back into her room, ready to relieve her of her self imposed torture. “Come here baby, let’s get that figured out.”
She was furiously poking one hand through the wrong arm hole, grasping at another handful of cloth with the other. She looked at me through the tangle of t-shirt and blond and tears, “Geh OUT!”
“Fine. You do it. When you want my help, let me know.”
“No help! Emma do it. Geh OUT!”
I continued my own morning ritual – shower, teeth, eyes in, clothes on. After about 15 minutes I noticed the sounds of a screaming toddler had been replaced by the groans of an annoyed older brother. “Emma, get out. This is MY room, you’re messing everything up.”
I stepped across the hall to intervene and gather them up for the trip to grandma’s.
“Everyone ready? Oh dear God, Emma, let Mommy help you.”
“No help. Emma do it. Emma’s Elmo,” she beamed, obviously proud of her accomplishments.
And so, I dropped my daughter off at my mother-in-law’s house this morning – in a backwards Elmo T-shirt, inside out pants, and two white sandals strapped to the wrong feet. Whoever said Independence is a beautiful thing, never met my two-year old.