Toddlers are known for being difficult, but man, sometimes they can really be little psychopaths. A couple of days ago, Annie came up to me and said, “Oh mama, pretty princess hair, Annie braid it!” and started running her hands through my hair. I was smiling at her sweetness when she suddenly grabbed a handful of hair and yanked it. I yelped in pain, but instead of looking chagrined she laughed and did it again. I know I’m probably not supposed to react, but damn, it hurts. And she needs to know that deliberately hurting people is not OK. At that point I warned her that if she did it again, she’d get a time out, and about ten seconds later I was hauling her off to time out.

The whole day was like that. We’d be doing something fun – pretend manicures, coloring, playing princess – and then she’d push the boundaries and test me until I had no choice but to put her in time out. Sometimes she was upset at the end of her punishment, but most of the time she looked at me like this, annoyed by the whole thing.

you have wronged me.

By the end of the night, I’d seriously had enough. I read her bedtime story with little inflection, gave her my kisses, and then started to tuck her in, like I always do. “NO! NO tuck in!” She shouted back to me. Completely irritated at this point, I lost my temper and said, “Fine, Annie. Good. Night.” As I started to walk away I heard, “Mama? Mama, I loooooove you. I love you Mama!!”

I walked back and leaned into her crib, where she was looking back up at me with those big wide eyes. “I love you too, Annie.” I wanted to apologize for being short with her, but I didn’t. She wouldn’t have understood, and it wouldn’t have made me feel any better. I rubbed her cheeks and kissed her hands, and then I left her room.

I don’t know why I am the one she’s constantly testing. It’s frustrating to be the one she pushes, while she’s sweet and loving toward everyone else. It makes me wonder what I’ve done wrong, and it makes me feel like crap.