We've spent the last
week month trying to manage the little terrorist that has taken over our home. I'm willing to get on my knees here and admit that this is no easy task parenting an independent toddler. He's independent in that he knows what he wants, but insists I aid in his efforts, all while not being able to communicate his needs very well verbally. Which then result in him assuming I don't understand or want to understand/let him express his free will and then a tantrum ensues. Which of course is not true at all. I'm all about fairness and compromise. In fact, I think that's the only way to parent a child who will become a responsible, law-abiding, reasonable, fair adult.
We're resting on about 30+ words at this point and none of those include polite words. We're working on please. He sat and kicked off his shoes and whined under a swing yesterday because he refused to say please after telling me he wanted up in the swing. It's a non-negotiable. You want something and I want something. We both need to feel respected here.
He must say the word "up", which I taught him instead of whining and motioning for picking up, about 150 times a day. At least. It's cuter than the whining, but it's now sounding more demanding. I am now requiring all of his ups be followed by a please... which he says peas and pretty much melts your heart.
I know toddlers are demanding. And busy. And tantrum-throwing little people because they are trying to assert their independence and new learning. None of this is lost to me. But MAN. It's exhausting.
We just bought this book.
Not only are we reading it, but a local friend is reading it as well so we can chat and follow through with the principles together since she's a couple months ahead of us in this toddler-raising business. This book has been recommended to me by many parents I trust and admire who are way further into the game than we are. It totally feels like a game sometimes. Maybe pinball? And I'm the ball?
Some days I sit and wonder why I don't hear other parents talking about the terrible toddler times and how they have managed to keep from turning completely gray. I wonder if I'm the only one who has such a rotten devil child, but then I think about the circumstances being different for other families who have caregivers or work part time or have help from family to make it feel like less of a brain drain on the parents. (Please forget that the grammar and incredibly long run-on sentences exist in this post. And maybe all posts until Benjamin graduates college. Thanks)
I think it would be easier if I didn't spend every waking moment with the little monster, but at the same time, I don't want to run away from the most important and challenging (cliche much?) job I'll ever have. I want to tackle this head-on and show that I respect and love the little guy who we were so lucky to be given in the first place. And if you're encouraging me to get him involved in activities, we are. Between a few storytimes a week, an indoor playhouse, parks, friends' houses, gymnastics, swim lessons, and errands, we're attempting to keep him engaged. I even plan to put him in a structured 1 day/week early preschool program around his 2nd birthday. But we're not there yet. I still have to simmer down and remember he really is just 18-months old.
But man. Some days just may call for a cocktail at naptime. No, I haven't, but don't think I haven't wished it was appropriate!
Comments about struggling with your tantrum-throwing toddler or how you handled it are totally appropriate here. I appreciate empathy. If you have perfect kids, commenting might land coal in your stocking. Wink.