I have been told by a friend that things get easier. As the kids get older, things will be easier. Time will be easier, days will be easier. I have awaited this foretold lore with bated breath. I believe I am on the cusp.
I have always relied on the method of corralling when it comes to being the parent of two toddlers. When the kids start acting like a couple of feral cats. When they are running around with reckless abandon. That will, 100% of the time, end in someone needing an ice pack. When they pervade our main level living quarters with the tactical presence of Seal Team 6. Well, that’s when I have no other option. The corralling requires my direct and active participation to tamper the situation.
A table strewn with brand new play doh their little eyes have never seen. The allure of markers is also captivating (some) of the time. A bath, a game, tablets (don’t judge me), cooking, playing in their room, magnatiles, exploring buckets of toys we haven’t looked at in awhile and literally anything else I can think up when we are in the absolute thick of it.
These times of chaos are shifting. In the slightest of ways I see it. It is bittersweet. The need for less and less corralling. I first noticed it a few months ago. My kids were in a room playing, quietly, and I wasn’t in there with them. I wasn’t in the doorway watching. I wasn’t on the floor helping. I was in the other room, sitting on the edge of my seat, eyes wide, mouthing the words “are they playing?!?” to my husband. I didn’t move. Scared that any sound made would elicit a request from the other room. I took it all in.
I’ve been told that I am a “helicopter parent.” I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hurtful. But these kids we have, are only kids for so long. And even though some days are hard. So hard that at the end of the day, when they’ve finally exhausted themselves into a near comatose state; you exhale. And that exhale is so deep with so many levels that you wonder if perhaps you’ve gone the entire day without exhaling all the way out.
Their quiet playing only lasted a few minutes but there it was. The “easier” that I was told about. They didn’t need corralling. They didn’t need me. Right then, in that moment. They had themselves and each other and it was enough. There is going to come a day when they don’t say “momma, come play with me.” When they say instead “I’m going to play with friends.” or *gasps* “I don’t need you right now.” And it seems like I’ll need to start preparing for it now.
Nikola brought his first rock home. I feel like this is a stage every kid goes through. Right? At some point, children just become little geologists for an unspecified amount of time.
There’s no warning, it just happens one day. And their cups runneth over with pride at their procured find. While nothing distinctive to the adult eye sets it apart from the others that liter the yard, a child sees something special. It’s theirs.
As a parent, you may get weighed down from carrying a mini gravel pit in your pocket. And stupidly, selfishly, you may off-load some of these rocks. But make no mistake – if you pick up another to replace one of “theirs” they will know. Undoubtedly, somehow they will know that there’s an imposter amongst the group. Which more often than not causes them to cascade into fits of despair.
Their rock; their thing that they found and chose all on their own – is gone. And when you put it that way, it actually is quite sad.
Nikola is about to turn 3. And these milestones keep coming. They are bittersweet. He’s growing up, and doing all the typical growing up things that children do. Collecting rocks is just one of them.
And so for now, I promise that whatever he choses to collect; whatever items he wants to amass, I will let it be his. Perhaps one day we’ll have enough to start our own Hardscaping business. Who knows.
In the meantime, I just have to remember to start checking his pockets before doing the laundry.
I am absolutely, 100% certain that Parkour was accidentally invented by parents of a toddler as a joke. And somehow it just…caught on.
Have you ever just sat and observed a toddler in their natural habitat?
I gaze upon my son stumbling, rolling, jumping, crawling, hopping, and most often of all, falling and it just amazes me.
I mean, for one, the energy that he exudes is enviable to say the least. My god! The things I could get done with just an ounce of it.
But the uncertainty is what really amazes me- I don’t think that there is any predetermined end point. There is no well conceived plan as to what “obstacle” he’ll tackle next. He just gets after it.
Pillow on the couch?
Maybe he’ll jump over it. Maybe he’ll grab it and roll around with it. Maybe he’ll use it as an catapult, a shitty one, but one nonetheless, to his next landing spot, where he will launch himself onto another hard to semi-hard surface.
I have sent myself into many a coughing fit by the frequency and ferocity of my audible gasps. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph” is a constant whisper in the house.
And for the most part, they are all the same. All toddlers. I’m around many, and they are just….wild…. To different degrees of course, but each of them has it in them. Somehow, somewhere,. Perhaps it’s well hidden. Incognito mode can only be maintained for so long before they go rogue. It is uncontained, uncontrived and absolutely effing nuts…
“Alexa, order ice packs”
I don’t like the phrase “terrible twos.” He’s not really terrible per se. But he can be a bit of tyrant.
He rules as a totalitarian. In the moments of utter despair; not to be tempted with reason or chocolate chips.
Tempers flare and all tactics have been exhausted. The cusp passed so quickly, you didn’t even know you were at it.
Talking past the point of no return. The tailspin cometh. Tears inevitably start with a trickle, and then comes a bellow reministint, I imagine, of someone being tarred and feathered
There is no turning back. The tantrum is upon us. We are in the thick of it now. Taming it takes time. And sometimes, nothing else.
It’s up to him.
The taboos that come along with punishment of children are many. Time-outs being the most widely talked about. Mostly identified by an older generation. When you a have a baby, many gifts are given. But the most consistent are advice and subsequent judgement when said advice goes unfollowed.
The implementation of a time out is tricky. While removing a child from an environment may be helpful in tampening the theatrics; leaving them alone to deal with “big emotions” may be counter productive in the long run. Thats what “they” say anyway.
Not me. I have said many times that parenting is just trial and error. Try something, if it doesn’t go well, then try something else. That’s all any of us can do.
This post was brought to you by the letter T and the number 2
While their audience is small it is a captivated one. Parents, day care providers, immediate family. “He loves trucks” I’ll say, and without hesitation, a new truck will promptly find its way into our home.
We are left hanging on their every like and more often than not, dislike. Their trends tend to be fleeting and impulsive. Sometimes lasting no more than a week. We are held captive by their giggles of delight or their screams of displeasure.
My husband and I are lucky though. We have yet to hit the stage where a trip to the store results in a meltdown over an unpurchased toy. Currently his most passionate trends tend to be of the edible nature. He is food motivated. Consistently in the 97th percentile for height and weight. He just wants a banana when we go to the grocery store. But we know it’s coming. We catch glimpses of it from time to time. Usually when a nap is missed.
Its inevitable. The LEGO trend, or Minecraft, or whatever the commercials are hocking. Whatever the other kids have (see? Influencers…) We’ll cross that miserable bridge when we get to it. Like so many before us. And with just as much grace. Absolutely none.