So these are the terrible 2’s… The struggle is real. It just crept up on me so quickly … I went from a sobbing mother dropping my daughter off at preschool, (see my first post), to a woman who bounces out of bed on a school day at the thought of being able to use the bathroom without a special guest on my lap! What a difference a few months makes! Surely there must be a silver lining to this phase with my difficult and strong willed little girl, right? I keep telling myself, (as others have been telling me), “The world needs strong women.” Yes, yes it does and I am lucky enough to be raising one. BUT – I worry that I will discourage her by trying to discipline her during her unacceptable albeit typical behavior. (Understand, I use the term discipline very loosely as lately, it usually refers to me losing my shit and screaming my head off constantly.) I spent months saying the phrase , “No thank you” instead of “NO”, in my sweetest most polite voice ever as she crawled and toddled around the house touching things she shouldn’t . I thought in some way I could get ahead of the toddler “NO!” if all she heard during her baby years was a candy coated ,” No thank you ” out of a voice likened to Snow White, (a stretch for me but I tried ). I was mistaken. I was also mistaken that patting my sweet baby girl to a sound sleep was the best thing I could do for her as she transitioned to a toddler bed, but again I was wrong , (see my second post). I have created a monster who could double for Linda Blair in The Exorcist , ” Noooooo I don’t want to sleeeeeep!!! NO! NO! I DON’T WANT THAT!! I WANT MOMMY PAT ME” But yet I’ve continued for months to get up 4 and 5 times a night sitting at her bed, reasoning with her to get to sleep . I was already using “…Santa Claus is watching …” on December 26 people. By the 5th time waking up with her, I would just sleep on the couch in her room where she would join me, (assuming I hadn’t already done a faceplant on her bed) . My husband has since become the sleep regulator and forbids her to see me or speak to me in the middle of the night so she can realize she is capable of falling asleep without me. He walked in on one of my mattress faceplants at 9pm, (YES 9pm ) recently and realized we needed to make a change. Guess what? It’s working. Of course . Me, the article reading, book buying, daughter of an incredibly nurturing mother has seen another great plan backfire and bite me in the ass. My husband does 5 nights of tough love and confidence building boot camp and she’s on her way back to being a good sleeper. Sigh.
So again what is the silver lining of this stage? What can I take away from these months? What is the positive to come out of this time of constant negotiation with my child? Well, I am realizing that I could actually learn a thing or two from this girl. She is relentless. She never gives up. She’s confident, she’s sure of herself, and she sure as hell doesn’t care what anyone thinks. She will push limits and boundaries, whatever the consequences. Time out? BRING IT MOMMY. Take my toys away? SEE IF I CARE MOMMY. No park? YOU WILL REGRET IT LADY! She’s much smarter than I give her credit for. I need to talk to her like she’s an adult because in many ways she’s acting like an adult I need to be, as long as you strip away the typical 2 year old behavior of course. Today, I lost count of how many times she fell as she ran around at the park. She skinned her knees, tore her pants, and found herself covered in dirt as she ran after the big kids. You know what? Never once did she cry. Never once did she ask for help. She would get up and say,” I’m okay Mommy…. I’m a strong girl Mommy”. Then she ran after the big kids yelling, “Hey you guys come back here now or you gonna get a time out!!”