Toddlers are Hard

I see it.  It's coming.  Maybe it's already here.  The tough toddler years.  Look how cute he is.  Freaking adorable, right?  

He's as cute as he is a toot. 

This week, I'm honestly at a loss of how to parent.  Two weeks ago, I had it DOWN!  No problem.  I've got this! 

And then Jack learned to say, "No."  And learned that it meant something.  And expected it to be respected.  And the world changed.

We've got temper tantrums.  We've got shrieks of complete happiness.  We've got crying fits. We've got laughing until we can't breathe.  We're hitting.  We're hugging.  We're throwing.  We're giving kisses.  We're shrieking, "NO" to every blessed question asked.  And we're helping clean up. 

My son is a roller coaster of emotion.  The good times are so easy, and so fun, and what make being the parent of a toddler so much better than being a parent of a newborn.  But, to quote Ben Harper....When it's good, it's so, SO good, and when it's gone, it's gone.  And I mean big time gone. 

 And Jack vacillates between two extremes all day long.  And it's exhausting.

I know where the temper tantrums are coming from, and when the anger of being beat by my toddler isn't welling up inside me, I get it.  (Yesterday, I literally thought to myself, "If my husband hit like my toddler does, he'd be thrown in jail.)  He can't communicate what he wants to communicate.  How frustrating would that be!?!?!  He has little to no control over anything.  That's just down right angering!  The only way he knows to communicate is physically.

So I get it.  But what do I do with it?  I know, stay calm (he laughs if I raise my voice even the slightest bit), use his communication style to communicate (a-la Happiest Toddler on the Block), if it's something that I really want him to do, don't ask him if he wants to (the answer is always, "no") and tell him what we're doing, let him win the small battles that don't really matter (it gives him a sense of control) and be consistant.  Some of the books (yes, BOOKS) I've read lately about toddler hood said to make sure they feel loved, pay attention to them, make them feel safe.....I think I've got that part covered...he hears, "I love you!" about 1.1 million times a day. 

It's a struggle.  I know, I know, there will be one struggle after the next for the rest of his life!  One of my good friends just had a baby 3 weeks ago, and her mom told her, "Get ready to wing it for the next 18 years!" which is not what any new parent wants to hear....but every day as a parent, I'm learning that it's true.  What works today, might not work tomorrow. 

And isn't that just like life?  Just when you think you know what's going on, God throws something else in there, reminding you aren't in control, to make you depend on him.  I'm telling you what, if parenthood doesn't make you humble, then watch out!  You've got another thing coming.  And then I think of how I am, how I am not healthy and count calories to the number one week, and the next, back to, "Oh well!".  Read my Bible religiously for a period, and then suddenly can't seem to make time for it.  Be a good friend for a few weeks, then back to my selfish self. 

So what else would I expect from my son but to be as difficult and demanding as I am!  Um, thanks for the mirror, God.


Krista said...

I am SO with you! There are days that I have seriously contemplated wrapping N in bubble wrap and sticking a good solid helmet on him and letting him go play in traffic ;-). I know, mom of the year right here!

Anonymous said...

Love this post! I wandered over here after seeing your comment on Heir to Blair and just wanted to mention that my name is also Molly and I too have a son named Jack! What a beautiful family that you have!