Posted in Children, Family

Two, but not terribly terrible

I went to the bathroom and I mean to tell you, I was not in there longer than a minute. Probably 40 seconds tops. I don’t piddle in the bathroom. Well I do piddle, but I don’t piddle, if you know what I’m trying to say. All those years of teaching school taught me how to pee fast. When you leave 20 some-odd young children alone in a classroom, you better only do it for less than a minute. That real life skill has proven to be very handy when you also must leave a 2 year old alone in another room of the house, which doesn’t happen very often. Usually she follows me right along. But today, she had more important things to do, like picking out her fingernail polish.

Earlier we had a fight, a big one. You see, every day this little girl wants to wear a “beautiful duress” as she says. I let her choose one this morning that she wore until afternoon. Then, after eating lunch with Ashlynn, the dress was wet and dirty. She wanted it off and wanted another beautiful “duress”. Well, this time I chose, and she didn’t want to wear it. It turned into a fight. A literal, physical struggle of me trying to push the thing over her head and pull her arms through the arm holes, while she cried and fought and kept getting it back off her head.

Yes, part way through this battle, I thought of giving up. It was a dress, for crying out loud. A truly inconsequential item. Why was I fighting a 2 year over what she was going to wear, especially when we weren’t even leaving the house? The thought crossed my mind, but was overruled by another thought. The little girl is headstrong. Of late, she is super duper, bigtime headstrong, and if I gave up, it would send a message to her. The message that she won. The message that she is the boss of me. That the simple act of throwing a wall-eyed, screaming Mimi fit is all it takes to get her way. Because of that, I dug in, and because I’m bigger and stronger, I won.

She left the room crying loudly. She wanted nothing to do with me after that. She paced back and forth crying. Pulling the skirt of the dress out to look at it, she kept repeating, “it isn’t beautiful. It isn’t beautiful”. I felt terrible. She wouldn’t let me console her. So I did what all first time, questioning mothers do, I left her crying in the hallway and I went to google.

I read: The strong-willed child is self-motivated and inner directed. They aren’t easily swayed from their viewpoints (or choice of “beautiful duress” in this case) And they want to be in charge of themselves (and in EK’s case, everyone else as well). I was advised to give her authority over her own body. Exactly what I didn’t do. This article went on to make me feel terrible as a mom by saying these children feel their integrity has been compromised if they are forced to submit to another’s will.

My thoughts went something like this, like the angel/devil on the shoulder thing:

Mom 1: BUT SHE’s TWO! She can’t run the show all the time!

Mom 2: But it was just a dress. Completely unimportant.

Mom 1: But it is a matter of principal.

Mom 2: But it wasn’t a matter of morals.

The strong willed child wants respect. They like to have choices. They want to pick out their own stinking dress.

The article went on to give me suggestions on how to handle her, of which did not say to pin her down and force her to wear something that in her eye is not a “beautiful duress”.

So, yeah, I botched this one.

Big time.

Later…..I amended it, I hope.

We made up, I think.

At nap time, she slept in my arms, as sweet and as precious as the day she was born. While I watched her little mouth do that suckling thing, I thought about what kind of kid she is. I wondered if this new EK was a stage she is going through or if this is her personality, just now appearing.

I truly did not ever imagine she would be so independent. So head strong. So…..dare I say it……bossy. Just a few months ago, she was a timid, cautious child who sat back and observed before jumping in. She was easy to deal with, curious of all things introduced to her, sweet and kind. And now, she’s hitting the dog with a stick, and bossing anyone and everyone who will allow her to. She is raising her voice and demanding people do her bidding. She wants it to be her idea first. She argues like something I’ve never seen. And if you change your standpoint and agree with her, she’ll argue the other side that she was just arguing against! She tells me she’s busy and “just a second” when I tell her to do something (Things she’s heard from me, I know) When do you punish your kid for sounding like you?

I realize that she is only two and that she has great qualities and traits and potential for leadership, but in a little toddler who still sucks a pacifier, sometimes her ways come across as a little bratty. That is the last thing I want. A bratty kid.

Wow, this parenting is no easy gig.

She is two. But she is not a terrible two. Before you start thinking I’m all down on my kid, I AM NOT. She is my love, my precious gift, and she is amazing in so many ways. She does not wreak havoc, make disastrous messes, or terrorize or even throw tantrums. Yet. I’m going to say yet. Because I am not sure what is ahead. It’s all just a little confusing because it’s just a side of her that I haven’t seen and didn’t think would be a part of her personality, and I really, really hope it is only a stage.

Anyway, back to the purpose of this post. I held her while she napped, and then suddenly her eyes popped open. She began crawling out of my lap, informing me she was going to paint her fingernails. Informing me. Not asking. But telling me she was going to paint her fingernails. I chose not to fight this battle with a no, and instead told her I WOULD PAINT HER FINGERNAILS FOR HER. But first I had to go to potty. She was left to choose her polish and that’s when I went to the bathroom.

40 seconds, people. I was gone no more than 40 seconds. Heck, it could have been 25. It’s not like I timed it.

When I walked out of the bathroom, she was already in charge. Full leadership mode. She had chosen the color she wanted from Ashlynn’s bag full of polishes, unscrewed the lid, and was taking care of business.

I can’t complain.

She was doing a great job.

So I let her finish her left hand, and then I painted her right.

 

 

 

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Author:

I’m Angel, a.k.a. Rocket Surgeon, and these are my chronicles. I love writing and I believe our stories should be shared, so here you’ll find anecdotes of my life, loves, worries, fears, joys, and experiences. I blog about my mishaps and adventures as a wife, mommy, auntie, wanna-be writer, teacher, Texan, country/city/mountain girl, cereal killer and Jesus-freak. A few things you might discover about me: •Jesus is my everything; without Him I am nothing, but with him I can do all things •My family makes this world a better place for me to live in •I adore chickens, the live ones, although the cooked ones aren’t too bad either •I have 2 dogs: Grace and Ozzie. And one cat: Rocky Muffin •My dream job would be to raise chickens and write best sellers Thanks for stopping by. Kick off your shoes and stay awhile. I know your time is valuable and I honor you for spending a few moments here with me. I hope you find something to brighten your day, lighten your load, make you chuckle and remind you of the good in the world. “When you look for the bad in mankind, expecting to find it, you surely will." Pollyanna I’m always eager to meet new online friends, so leave a comment and introduce yourself.

5 thoughts on “Two, but not terribly terrible

  1. I may not be a parent, but it sounds like that article was encouraging people to raise bratty kids with no discipline. These days it seems discipline is not very popular in raising kids, which I am worried about as people need discipline and growing up without any means we will end up with a whole spoilt generation. Not being bullied and always over-ridden, but not always getting their own way either. It is obviously very difficult, but don’t beat yourself up because one internet article disagreed with you, as a mother you must have some instincts about how to best raise your kid and what she needs. For every internet article saying one thing you can surely find several saying the exact opposite anyway!

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    1. You are right, it is very difficult. And I probably didn’t give the article enough credit for the advice and suggestions it gave. I was too wounded by the stabs in my heart from the other parts. You know how it goes, how some things make more of an impact on you than others.

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  2. Oh, I laughed and laughed when I read this. I can just see her holding out the skirt of her dress and saying “it’s not beautiful”…probably in a sad, guilty inspiring voice! Although I am a believer in discipline of course, when you have a strong-willed child it is important for them to make as many personal choices as possible. She has a strong innate desire to have some control. If you take that away from her, it won’t get better it will just get worse. I found if you choose two dresses that are acceptable to you, i.e. and let EK choose which ones then perhaps everyone is happy! It’s just an example and of course you have to make the big decisions about safety and boundaries, but you don’t want to exasperate her just BECAUSE. That can in my opinion cause a resentful and wrathful child. You sure don’t want that. Raising strong-willed children is like walking a tight-wire. But it sounds like you are doing great!! I love my daily dose of EK!!

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  3. You know, it doesn’t matter if the child is strong-willed or not, and maybe especially this is true even more so for a child who is not strong-willed, but all children need to learn to make choices on their own: what to wear, when and what color to paint their nails, all sorts of decisions. Too many, way too many, parents want to do everything for their child because of the mess, the time, the interaction, the whatever.

    Put all her duresses that you don’t want her wearing somewhere she can’t see them. Then open up the closet to her ideas. Let her wear whatever she wants. Even when you go somewhere. (of course, we DO have that line) Having a child who sits still on command is no better than having a dog who does the same thing.

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