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!