Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Parenting a Two-Year Old

Life is Good: remember that

Our little one recently officially turned two and a half and boy, the last couple of weeks, he has been giving us a run for our money! He isn't falling asleep until an hour or more after we put him to bed, he isn't napping, he isn't eating much, he doesn't want to leave the house (I know kid, I'm over the coat-mitten-hat-polar vortex thing, too), he just plain doesn't want to do whatever we ask of him. "NO!" is an automatic response, though it is sometimes substituted with, "no".

And it is exhausting.

But I must disclose that these bouts of rebellion and frustration are not continuous. They come in spurts that seemingly last for hours but when actually checking the clock, last about 3-5 minutes. Okay, sometimes less than that, even. And to be fair, these momentous moments are sandwiched by absolute adorableness. We continue to be amazed and amused by the many new words and thoughts that are oozing out of our little one. He makes up his own jokes and then laughs uproariously at them. He plays pretend with dogs and pandas and Playmobil people who refer to each other as "honey" and always say, "please", "thank you", and "be careful". He says "shutdown!" instead of "touchdown" and can't go anywhere--I mean, anywhere--without a hat, helmet, glasses, or goggles or some combination of that. It is a fun time in the development of his personality.

Ah, development.

Yes, I'm pretty sure that is the culprit for this not enough sleep-not enough eating-no-no-NO intermittent storm we are in right now. And to be clear, I am aware that we are fortunate. I understand that our kids are pretty good in terms of personality and behavior. We've never gone through tantrums or public displays or revolt or some of the perfectly normal growing up issues that other friends of mine have faced. And I say that because I think it is always important to acknowledge your blessings and remember that it can always be worse. But I think because our kids have not gone through these kinds of growing pains, it makes the little interruptions of disorder and unrest feel that much more intense and foreign.

Whenever our kids go through these kinds of spurts, though, I try to look at what life has been like and search for the guilty party. Are they eating enough protein? Have they had too much sugar? Are they sleeping enough? Has our schedule been to full? And yes, could they be going through a growth spurt or a developmental phase? We forget that these small little people are accomplishing great feats and moving giant mountains every day. They don't come into this world fully functioning with an instruction manual. They are growing and changing and absorbing. They are delving and developing and adjusting. And we are their guides through it all. Through the excitement and awe of discovery and through the torture discomfort that sometimes comes with the process of growth and progression.

So I'm doing a lot of deep breathing these days. I continue to look for cues as to how to help our little one through these rough patches---eye contact & explanation, quiet, calm hugs, acknowledgment of feelings, respect. And I'm reminding myself that this is exactly where I want to be. That this is a sunny little life. Sure, the occasional "Tropical Storm Two-Year Old" will hit, but not for long. This is just a phase. Everything is just a phase. And this time we have together is ticking by. So I'll take a deep breath, count to ten, and remember that these bumps in the road are all a natural part of the path. And I'll remind myself that, really, they are tiny little bumps at that. And life is good, so I'll remember that, too.

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