Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A day's peek into living with a two year old.

Let me tell you some stories.  The first thing I'm going to say is this:  It's 10:30 at night and I"m exhausted from yet another busy day.  It's not abnormal for me to feel this way.  When "I" was 2, I couldn't keep myself awake past 10:30. He would hit the floor running in the morning and not stop til his eyes closed at night.  He was busy! Climbing, getting into things and doing typical two year old boy things.  But this is a different kind of exhausted.  My girl Sweet Pea keeps me mentally exhausted. She is so independent and strong willed that I get to the point where I don't want to think anymore.  Here are some of our adventures today.

This morning she woke in a pretty good mood.  I was happy but I knew that it probably wouldn't last.  I successfully convinced her to use the bathroom. I got her usual breakfast started (waffles and cerweal) She ate up her waffles pretty good.. Even tried to trade her half eaten waffle for her brother's full one and didn't pitch a fit when he refused.  When she was done, she decided that she would like another waffle and very politely asked for another one.  So I popped another eggo in the toaster.  Here comes the first fit of the day....are you ready for it?   My loving husband was rushing out the door to work when the toaster popped up just as he was walking by it.  So he grabbed the waffle and put it down on Sweet Pea's plate.  "NO I wanted to get it!!!" she screams.   He says sorry and rushes out the door, probably thankful to be going to work and not having to deal with what comes next.  I was at the stove top making oatmeal for my boys when I hear the plate and the waffle hit the floor.  Yes she threw them.  I sighed and continued on with what I was doing.  I tend to ignore her tantrums quite a bit. "I", who for some strange reason will eat floor food no matter where it's been made a bee line for the floor waffle.  At first I told him to leave it but then I figured it would probably teach her a bit of a lesson if her brother ate it.  So I told him he could have it.  A few minutes later, Sweet Pea is on the floor searching for her thrown waffle.  I told her that when she throws her waffle. her brother will eat it and that was that.  Thankfully she had calmed down from her rage and was okay with that.  And on went our day.

The rest of the morning was fairly uneventful aside from her running out to the living room naked from the waist down and yelling at the kids not to look at her bum.  She was looking for her underwear.  We found her some and she went off to play.  One by one the three older kids finished their schoolwork and went off to play with her.  Surprisingly she plays very nicely with her brothers and sister and doesn't seem quite as strong willed when it comes to them.  I made my grocery shopping list and when I was ready I told the kids to get ready to go.  Out of the four of them, my little two year old surprised me by being the first to get her boots and coat on.

Off we went to do our errands.  I had to stop by my dad's to give him a twoonie that I had found that had three bears on it.  He collects them.  Thankfully the life saver that he is, he hopped in the car and drove with me to the few errands I had in that part of town.  I was able to run in and do my thing while he sat in the car with the kids and chatted.  It literally only took 10-15 minutes to do what would have taken at least 45 minutes if I had to drag the four of them in each store I went into.

We dropped dad back off and it was off to the grocery store.  The smart mom in me actually came out as we were heading into the store and I took everyone to the bathroom BEFORE we started our grocery shopping.  When we were done, I put both Sweet Pea and "I" into the cart (gotta love those double seater carts) and set off with J being the list checker and T grabbing things off the shelves for me.  At home I had organized my list according to the aisles and I just KNEW that this time, it would be faster.  (this was about 2:30 or so)  I was planning on meatloaf for supper and knew I needed to get back in time to cook it.

Things were going pretty well.  J was happy with my organized list and we were whipping through the aisles.  Until we got to the dairy aisle when Sweet Pea discovered that if she could reach down with her boot, she could push my grocery bin and bags off the bottom of the cart.  Ugh... I tried reasoning with her.. nope.. I tried being firm with her.... nope.... finally I just took her boots off and threw them in the bin.  Without her boot, she couldn't reach the bin.  Problem solved.  This is when "I" decides that he needs to go to the bathroom again... this time number two... GREAT!  So off we go across the store, into the elevator, down the hall to the bathroom.  I had J take him in while we waited outside the bathroom door because it is next to impossible to squeeze those big carts through those small doors.   A million years later, we were back on our way.

We were on track again... chugging along.... then I think it was in aisle 9 as I was trying to decide which brand of honey I would buy, Sweet Pea gets mad.. I'm still not sure what provoked her but I could almost hear her thoughts.. "what does mommy hate the most? hmmm I know squished bread!"  She grabbed the nearest bread product in the cart which happened to be hamburger buns.  She proceeded to hug those buns very very very tightly.  I had to pry both those little arms off my bread.  She then looked for something else and laid her eyes on the eggs.  yikes.  She began slapping them so I grabbed her little hands and held them to the cart handle until she had forgotten what she was mad about.  Then she was perfectly happy again.  Soon we were done with our grocery shopping and headed home.. Our shopping trip with trips to the bathroom and disciplining actually took longer than usual despite my planning.  The nice meatloaf supper I was dreaming of was becoming a distant wish as it was 4:30 and I needed something quicker.

Fast forward to supper time.  I like to get Sweet Pea involved in things that will teach her a little responsibility.  So I asked if she would like to get the ketchup out of the fridge and put it on the table.  She said no (first mistake.. asking her if she would like to.. I have to make it seem like it was her idea.  What I should have said was.. We need ketchup for our chicken nuggets and french fries but it's in the fridge....)  So I ask one of the other kids to do it and "I", always eager to help, jumps up and gets it on the table.  Sweet Pea screams "NO I DO IT!"  The next thing I know, the ketchup is flying through the air across the room.  Hubby was home at this point and I all too gladly left the disciplining up to him.    He put her on time out... she jumped off, he put her back, she jumped off and hits him, he put her back, she tries to hit him again and misses, he puts her back and so on and so forth for the next 5-10 minutes.   It was one fight that she was going to lose and she finally realized it and sat quietly.  Supper was uneventful and eventually it was bed time and she was oh so agreeable when I promised to read her two stories.  And that my friends is a day in the life of a strong willed 2 year old.  I'm sure you can see why I"m exhausted.    She tests me at every corner and I'm constantly rethinking my parenting strategy.  I do have to brag... A lot of times, I can make her do exactly what I want her to do with out a fuss just by phrasing things right.  But I admit, when it comes to raising her.. I have to think a lot.  Every moment, I have to stop and think before I say or do things.   And before you think that she acts this way because she gets away with it.. believe me she doesn't.  I don't tolerate defiance and hitting very well.  There are some days that she spends a good portion of it in her room on time out.  But I've got to pick my battles and you know what.. sometimes she needs to win one.  She is testing her independence and who am I to say she can't have an opinion about the things going on in her world..  So when she comes out of her room wearing a pink t-shirt and red tights with holes in them completely happy with her outfit choice.  I praise her for getting herself dressed.  I love her independence even when it exhausts me.. because I know as she gets older, she will more likely be a leader rather than a follower.   As long as we can teach her to be a successful child (and by successful I don't mean riches, I mean well mannered, moral and empathetic) she will make the right choices as she gets older..

I was at my bible study tonight.. and I was thinking and praying... not particularly about Sweet Pea, but she popped into my mind... and I said to God... I wish it was a bit easier... I wish she wouldn't fight me on every single thing...   Then I realized... I have it easy....I have four wonderful well behaved children for the most part. They are healthy and happy.  They teach me something every single day.  So I'm not going to dwell on how hard it is to deal with her.  I'm going to thank God for her.. for her independence and her opinions.  I'm going to love on her as best as I know how and keep trying.  Because that's what Mom's do.

A rare moment.  She fell asleep in our laps in church.

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