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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lessons from the Dark Side

Week two with a 2 year old and I've aged about 10 years on my life. I mean, did someone send him a memo that said, "Hey kid, you're 2 now. You know what that means, right?". It's like he went to bed a little, innocent toddler and woke up with a mission to destroy. Ok, maybe I'm being paranoid. But he is at least looking to conquer if not destroy. I know, Mother's Day just passed and that's supposed to be when you reflect on your immense love of mothering and the wonder that your kids are. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was too busy picking up a toddler from the day's 10th tantrum and pleading with him to just take a deep breath to have time for all that mushy stuff. Now that's what a Mother's Day celebration looks like with a 2 year old. Hey, don't judge. I'm just being honest. Throw in the fact that I'm barely 2 weeks away from expanding this family from 3 to 4 members and you can just imagine about how much patience I have. I found myself recently enjoying a rare quiet moment and thinking about what exactly I could do to make the toddler years bearable (other than boarding school)and it really boiled down to some simple ideas...
Set low expectations for behavior. Our farmer's market just started back up and I was so excited to take Nash last week to enjoy the much needed Seattle sun and my favorite ice cream. Silly me. Why would a kid want ice cream?? It's just delicious and sweet and a rare treat. He screamed when I offered him any and ended up throwing it on the ground. Lesson: Don't expect that they'll be as excited about something as you think they would be.
Don't tell them what to do. Ok, so this is nearly impossible I know. You just have to find a way to tell them without telling them. For instance, Nash and his beloved dog are playing together. Nash has the dog's ball which he's been throwing for the dog to fetch. When I say to Nash "throw the ball" Nash screams and refuses to let the ball go from his clutches for the rest of the afternoon. Why? Because I told him to do it. Lesson: Don't interrupt a good thing. If there isn't blood or danger involved, keep your mouth shut and let the good times roll.
Lie. Yep, that's what I said. Lie. I'm sure there are about a thousand parenting "experts" that would gasp at the suggestion but I'm here to tell you, it's mama's secret weapon. Now, I don't mean lie about the big stuff (or maybe do, I dont' know). But if you need to tell them that they're best friend is waiting for them at the grocery store or that mama's food is too hot for them to eat then by all means go on and tell that lie. Lesson: If it gets you from point A to B without a colossal meltdown or physical harm then that lie just saved the day.
Beg. Just like a dog you sometimes gotta beg. Beg for peace. Beg for quiet. Beg for mercy. I swear Nash can hear the desperation and pleading in my voice when I'm at the point of begging. "Please. Please just don't scream. I promise I'll do whatever you want. Just please don't scream." He's got me right where he wants me at that moment. Lesson: I aint too proud to beg.
Repeat to yourself, "This too shall pass." Nash has slowly been changing up his sleep patterns and not for the better. We went a week with no nap (hell on earth), a week with pre-7am wake up (a no, no in this house), and several nights of 9pm or later bedtimes (ever heard of the book "Go the F to Sleep??"). In the moment I was freaking out thinking that this would become the new normal, he would be crabby forever, we would all be sleep deprived, we had a newborn on the way...AHHH!! I imagined it to be the worst case scenario. And the truth is that although he's not going to sleep as much as he used to, it's not the end of the world. He'll get as much sleep as he needs and we're all going to survive. Lesson: Nothing stays the same forever- for better or worse.
Don't get me wrong about all of this. There are so many moments of every day where my precious boy genuinely makes me laugh or warms my heart with his endless kisses and hugs. The kid has my heart, no question about it. And all of this isn't exactly ground breaking advice. But it's helping me survive or at least get a game plan in place so that Nash isn't raised without a mother. I may not know much but I know that if I can find ways, little or small, to raise a well adjusted, happy child then I've already won. Best of luck to you mamas trying to do the same.

1 comment:

  1. Motherhood is the hardest, most mentally draining job out there. No question.


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