“If you cannot follow directions, you cannot be around others. If you cannot follow directions, I will put you in your room.”
He stands motionless. Baby attached to my back, I move to lift him. He goes boneless and slinks to the ground. With another threat, he demands that I help him stand. I
quietly walk away and retrieve the garden hose. I, in my infinite wisdom, choose that moment to start watering our newly seeded lawn. Spraying dangerously close to my tantruming toddler, my heart urges me to go ahead and soak the little sucker. But with his shrieks of, “Mommy! WET!” my brain tells me to shut it down.
String together a series of similar moments and you have my day…or my year, really. Toddlerhood has to be the most frustrating phase of child-rearing yet. Any request is met with defiance. A slightly difficult task catalyzes an explosion of screams and tears. Forget about common courtesy.
I long for the days where family, friends, strangers pleasantly remarked on my son’s politeness. “Please” and “thank you” naturally followed his replies and he responded dutifully to instructions. Today, I spent THIRTY minutes instructing my child to speak politely and to use “please.” “You may say, ‘Mommy, please help me pull up my pants.’” “MOMMY!!! PULL PANTS UP!!!” Half an hour and spiked blood pressure later, the stubborn monster finally conceded with the most pathetic of pleases. I wish I could say that there was only the one meltdown today.
I awoke this morning feeling rested and optimistic. Babygirl had let me sleep for SIX consecutive hours—a luxury she hasn’t allowed me to enjoy since she was a month old. At my husband’s urging to “make it a good day,” I mentally detailed all the fun activities I could do with my two year old while enjoying the gorgeous spring weather and tackling some gardening chores. But, alas, the terrible toddlerhood prevailed and I accomplished little more than keeping my children
fed, clothed, and safe….scratch that…the mister finished his day almost naked and chose to go to bed after only a couple of bites of dinner… I kept them safe which is what truly matters…
Of course, toddlerhood is not without its high moments. Hearing my son’s language develop is remarkable and mind-blowing at times—although,the marveling frequently follows yelled phrases such as “put me down,” or “you put me in my room again; let me out of my room!” I thought my heart would explode with pride, joy, and love the first time I heard Bug sing the ABCs solo or when he surprised me by counting to ten. Toddlerhood is perhaps the most frustrating, yet most magical of phases. I pray each day that I can survive it…