The Spaghetti Ball

There’s no other way to put it, my daughter is a force. She knows what she wants and she knows what she doesn’t want. She’s also 2 years old. There are so many feelings filling her to the brim that sometimes she just doesn’t know what to do with them. I picture her sometimes as a large ball of spaghetti. Each spaghetti strand in the ball represents a feeling. Alone, they are easily digestible. When you gather a plethora of them though and ball them up (as you do…I guess) the ball becomes dense with feelings and slightly harder. If the ball gets big enough, we will choke on it. So, when my daughter (or spaghetti ball) has a meltdown, instead of trying to tackle the entire ball at once, we have to pick and pull out each individual strand in order to figure out what’s wrong.

After a busy weekend and her desire to stay awake, Margot had a meltdown last night. That ball of spaghetti was laying in bed, screaming. The thing about a screaming toddler, is that most of the time they don’t even know what they want. So we start asking her. We attempt to untangle that spaghetti ball. But it’s very squishy and tough. Trying to get her untangled is near impossible.

Yet we press on.

We press on for our sanity as well as hers. Calmly, effectively, we help her work through her emotions. We help the demon child spaghetti ball unravel itself. And eventually, she falls asleep.

Sometime in the night she awakens. I hear her from my own room as Alaina and I embrace the sweet life aid known as sleep. She calls out and I hope Alaina sits up first. The eternal struggle continues for only a second longer as Margot calls specifically, for me.

Half slumbering, I soldiered through our tiny apartment. I listen with bated breath hoping she fell back asleep.  Before I can get to her door though(a mere 25 steps) she calls again. I see her there sitting up and she’s distressed. She’s not the ball of spaghetti now though, she’s a pile of it. Easy to untangle and soft. I kneel down and hold her, she puts her face on my shoulder and says “daddy” so softly that it melts us together. I lay her down and cozy up in her tiny pink bed. I hold her and tell her I love her, my finger engulfed in her hand.

As I drift asleep next to her, body contorted. I think of how even the toughest and most complicated people can be gentle and loving just given the chance.

My little girl will decimate cities one day. She will stand her ground and want for nothing but the happiness she desires for herself and her loved ones.

But she’ll also always be the gentle girl asleep in my arms.

 

-AF

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