Two Books To Help Me With My Independent (almost) Two-Year Old

Scores and scores of moms, and parents in general, are overcome with stress.  Although at times we can see humor in stressful times, insight and occasionally find a practical solution to our stress, there’s still that serene lifestyle that is out of reach.  Yes, when you have adult responsibilities such as a career, children, running a household,  and financial commitments, stress is just part of the everyday norm.

If I’m being 100% honest with myself and totally transparent, my source of stress right now is my almost two-year old and the worries that most other parents face.  Most days, Gia is my little shadow – she’s eager to please me, mimics everything I do and is an overall very happy and well-mannered child.  Like any toddler, she has her moments and now those moments come around a little bit more often as she is tasting what it’s like to be an independent big girl.

The last week or two has brought about new behaviors that are usually directed towards me, mommy.  After all, I am with her everyday, all day, so it’s only natural that she would show defiance and resistance to me more than daddy or grandparents.  We all want to raise respectful, well-behaved kids who make good choices, but it’s not so easy at this age.

About two weeks ago when I took Gia to use the potty she was adamant about not going (because she was very busy playing) but it had been far too long without her taking a potty break.  Most of the time if she says “no” to going potty, I honor her request but keep a very close eye on her because she usually refuses to go only to exert her power.  This particular time I wasn’t going to bend because we were out in public and business needed to be handled before getting in the car.  The short of it is that she smacked me right on the head because she didn’t want to go.  This was a brand new behavior that was kind of shocking to me.  I’m sure she’s seen other kids do this at our gym daycare, but I was still emotionally hurt by it.

This week, after an activity packed visit to San Diego to see her cousins, Gia has had more frequent outbursts that are quite obviously the “terrible twos.”  I’ve always kind of hated that term, but it’s now truly starting to rear it’s ugly head just a couple weeks before her second birthday.

Learning to discipline such young child who is obviously very bright can be confusing and frustrating, to say the least.  There are so many methods of discipline and ways to parent, and everyone who has their opinions about it.  Craig and I are approaching this new phase of toddlerhood with as much patience as possible and with open minds.

I think that the hardest part about all of this for me is that I expect so much of Gia.  I don’t expect perfection by any means, because I expect that of no one.  It’s just difficult to remind myself that she still is quite young.  Just because she’s grasped so many things at such a young age makes me forget that she’s still not quite two years old.  Her mind is still developing and the concept of discipline is hard at this age.  I mean, really, what kid her age will sit in time-out, even if just for one minute?!  (If your kid does this, my hat is off to you and you can message me immediately about how you make that happen!)

What I’m getting at is that these little humans are evolving every single day and sometimes that means the days feel a little bit longer.  I like to share these normal hiccups and challenges because as parents we ALL go through it but don’t always share about it.  Sometimes it’s just nice to commiserate, simply to know that you aren’t alone!

As a result of our opinionated and independent girl developing new habits, we are slowing down and taking the time to explain things at her level.  She has such empathy for her age and knows when people are hurt or even if feelings are hurt.  If she hears me say to another adult that I was upset she immediately tells me, “Mommy, don’t worry.”  The fact that she tells me this means we’re doing something very right.

We are just continuing to plow through and prepare her for life the best way we know how.  We’ll continue to make mistakes along the way, but we’re all just winging it anyway!

In case any of you are going through this phase of toddlerhood, I’d like to share two books that I just ordered through Amazon to help me out:  “Hands Are Not For Hitting” and “Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.”

I know that people laugh about these kinds of books because they weren’t accessible to parents of earlier generations and their kids “turned out fine.”  While that may be true, just because there’s new knowledge and support in the world doesn’t mean it’s bad or that we can’t be open to it.

Happy Friday my friends!

xo

Reading – The Discount Ticket To Everywhere

Ever since I was a young girl I’ve always had a love for books and reading.  I’m not too biased when it comes to genres, but I’ve noticed that I tend to stay away from things that lean towards sci-fi and fantasy.  Not to say that there aren’t plenty of good books in those categories, I just don’t gravitate towards them.

Lately I’ve been binge reading when I can – nap time and when Gia is asleep for the night.  I’ve realized that come October, my life will look very different and it probably won’t include reading for leisure for a very long time.  With a toddler and a baby on the way I might not read for fun until they fly the coop!  Well, that’s probably a bit of an exaggeration, but I certainly won’t have much “me” time, which I’m a-okay with.  Until this baby girl arrives, I’ll be reading as much as I can when my time allows it.

I’m always on the lookout for new books and I’m a huge fan of reading actual books – no Kindle or iPad here.  I’ve done the whole “read on your iPad thing,” and it’s not quite the same.  I like the idea of picking up my book, dog-earing the page (if you’re type A like me you use a book mark and avoid the dog-ear at all costs), then storing the book on a shelf where you can build up your library.  I’ve got a few books that I’ve recently finished and really, really enjoyed, so I figured why not share them?

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Disclaimer:  These books are mostly phycological thriller types with some sort of crime fighting.  (I think I’m going through a major phase!)

The first book that I’ll recommend is an unbelievable true story of the man who built a billion-dollar online drug empire from his bedroom – and almost got away with it.  It’s called, “American Kingpin,” by Nick Bolton.

My dad was the one who said I should pick it up.  He hasn’t read it himself, but he saw a few book reviews in the newspaper months back and saved it for me.  My dad does old school things like read the entire paper every single morning, and he saves good articles for me or cuts out funny little comics to make me laugh.  I think it’s really sweet.

Anyway, back to the book.  It’s about this twenty-something guy who is super libertarian and is a programmer.  He is a really brilliant young man who basically launched the ultimate free market:  the Silk Road.  This website was located on the dark web and people who used it could trade anything – drugs, hacking software, forged passports, counterfeit cash, poisons, EVERYTHING.  All of this was being done free of the govenment’s watchful eye.

As the site begins to grow, Ross, the creator, quickly has a huge enterprise on his hands and becomes this big kingpin.  There’s tons of twists and turns, lucky breaks and crazy close calls.  To sum it up, it’s the story of the boy next door’s ambition gone criminal.  If Hollywood doesn’t make a movie out of this I’ll be truly disappointed!

The second book I want to recommend is one that I just finished yesterday.  Kind of like with “American Kingpin,” this book really would make for a great movie – “UNSUB,” by Meg Gardiner.  What I enjoyed a lot about this book was that it was set in the Bay Area, so it was fun to recognize all of the landmarks and places they referenced as the story progressed.

This book seemed like it could have been inspired by the Zodiac Killer.  It’s about this young, female detective who is totally determined to catch a serial murderer who ruined her family life as a kid and terrorized the entire Bay Area for years and years.

The main character, Caitlin, is a new detective whose father is a retired detective.  Her now retired father was hunting for the same serial killer she is now trying to apprehend.  This killer committed weirdly ritualized murders when Caitlin’s father was a detective.  Twenty years after the first killings, the murderer resurfaces and starts tormenting Caitlin and the entire Bay Area yet again.

The book is filled with lots of twisted messages from the serial killer, but Caitlin is relentless in her pursuit and becomes dangerously obsessed, like her father once was.

There’s lots of the unexpected throughout this story and it ends making you think there could be a sequel.  I’m definitely keeping my fingers crossed for a follow-up novel!

I don’t know about all of you, but when I finish a book I already have the next one lined up.  My next read falls into the same crime/thriller category and is part of a series that Craig got me started on – “Violets Are Blue,” by James Patterson.  Maybe I’ll share another little book review in the near future after I’ve read this and a few more books that are on deck.

After I finish this James Patterson book I’m going to change up my routine by reading a self-help style book called, “Judgment Detox,” by Gabrielle Bernstein.  After all, we can all be a little kinder to ourselves, even if it means reading a book like this one.

xo