There are some things about the toddler stage that I just don't understand.
My daughter is, in general, an agreeable and happy soul. And why shouldn't she be? Various adults, related and unrelated, dance attendance on her regularly. She's got three squares a day, all the Cheddar Bunnies and grapes she can snarf down between times, more clothes than anyone outside the Hilton sisters (and she doesn't care that they're hand-me-downs -- yet), and a zillion ways to entertain herself, both officially sanctioned as "toys" and unofficially as "things Mommy will take away from me as soon as she realizes I have my mitts on them".
My formerly biddable baby and once tolerant toddler has developed a strong-willed streak that tends to appear at inopportune moments. For example, when we absolutely have to get in the car right this minute because we are teetering precariously on the precipice of being really late, as opposed to the usual five-minute-window-of-acceptability late, India has taken to running in the exact opposite direction of the car. "I wunning away!" she announced proudly last time she pulled that number. Yeah. Thanks. I figured that out. Also, there's her newfound habit of contradicting my statements. A typical exchange goes something like this:
Me: "Okay, India, after you finish your snack, we're going to the grocery store."
India: "No no no no NO. I going to the PWAYGWOUND." (Or alternately, No, no nooooooooo; or No, Mommy, no; or sometimes just one single, long-drawn-out NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Take your pick.)
Did I promise her the playground and renege on my word? No. Did I utter anything involving the phrases "play" and "ground" in any combination within earshot? No. And yet somehow I find myself sucked into a power struggle with someone roughly 1/19th my age. I realize her concept of time is much more, shall we say, fluid than mine. I know she can't understand that we can't go to the playground today because we have nothing to eat in the house, and we have only an hour to get to the store and back, and what with chasing her to get in the car, wrestling her into her car seat, convincing her to ride in the cart that looks like a truck instead of walking around the store picking up random items off the shelves and not putting them back, and then discovering that the one key ingredient necessary for tonight's dinner is out of stock, well - that's the hour shot right there. I get that. But that doesn't make it any easier when it's the third (fourth, fifth, sixth...) go-round of the day.
But above and beyond these normal toddler quirks, I really, really don't understand why she suddenly hates, loathes, and despises being changed above all else. She does not like changing from pj's into real clothes, or from dirty clothes into clean clothes, or from post-bath nakedness (nakedity?) into pj's. Best of all, she especially hates having her diaper changed. How much does she hate it? This kid will be walking around with her normally petite butt the size of the Graf Zeppelin, the diaper audibly groaning from the strain of containing quarts of toddler pee, and she will STILL scream and thrash when I insist on changing her. Alternately, she will walk around with cartoon stink lines emanating from her rearend, wilting houseplants in her wake, and deny vociferously any need to, shall we say, muck out the stable. This leaves me with two options, both equally unattractive: One, allow her to continue with the status quo, thus contracting a monster case of diaper rash as well as a reputation for social unacceptability; or two, force the issue, and find myself attempting simultaneously to pin her down, remove the dirty diaper, prevent her from grabbing anything grab-able and throw-able in the immediate vicinity, clean her up, dry her off, and re-diaper and clothe her in something cleaner and more hygienic. It's like wrasslin' a screaming human octopus. Damp, dirty, stinky, wet, it's all the same to her, and woe betide the mommy who tries to rectify the problem.
So what gives? Is this (please Lord) a stage that somehow didn't make it into any of the myriad baby and toddler development books I've bought or borrowed in the past two years? Should I concede defeat now and change her big-girl bed for a stall and a bed of straw? Do I need to invest in designing a line of children's clothing that can all be removed and replaced one-handed? Or do I brush up on my judo holds? Gah!