Wednesday, August 4, 2010

holding on and letting go (or, toddlerhood begins)

times they are a-changin' in our little nest. Our sweet, calm, chill, laid-back, always happy baby boy turned into a toddler somewhere in the past few weeks, and he is growing more and more into the role with every passing day.
now, i'm not saying that he isn't still sweet, calm, chill, laid back and happy. he is. but there are new sides to him now. one minute he is holding my face in his hands, belly laughing and giving me kisses, and the next minute he is screaming and hitting me in the face as hard as he can.
i do feel for the little guy. i know he is struggling to learn his emotions and properly communicate them. i know he is having to learn the hard lessons that sometimes the answer is 'no' and that the world does not actually revolve around him. i knew this was inevitable, this stage. every child crosses into this time period when their mind is advanced beyond their communication level. he just doesn't know how to fully express what his feelings are and what he wants. and then sometimes he can express what he wants, but i tell him 'no' and he doesn't know how to handle that.
one of his latest things that i am just totally stuck with is this: he gets completely obsessed with 1 or 3 toys for a few days at a time. he carries them around with him everywhere and he can't sleep without them. it's cute. until he gets in this mood. he'll hold the toy and play with it and then all of the sudden he'll throw it to the ground out of frustration (from what? i couldn't tell you), only to be, seconds later, crying and whining because he wants the toy. this goes on all day, and sometimes even all night in his sleep. i cannot figure out what is going on and haven't really clue what to do about it. (if you have any insights or suggestions, please leave a comment!)
my husband and I have both agreed that this next month off we are really going to have to get on top of discipline and get it under control. we need to get on the same page, figure out what style of correction and teaching works best for him as an individual, and work the kinks out...
but as these kinks are getting worked out--can i be totally honest here?--i've been hit with the realization that i am far from a perfect mother. far from a perfect person. i find myself frustrated more that i'd like, losing patience more than i'd like. i find that i am not always the mother that i aim to be. grant it, it is usually at night time when i am just exhausted and missing out on much-needed sleep (don't we all get a bit cranky when woken in the middle of the night?). these moments are actually few and rare, and maybe i'm being a bit hard on myself. but i know that, left untouched, these things can grow into monsters in my life and slowly turn me into someone that i never want to be--possibly without me even noticing it. these tiny evidences of selfishness must be dealt with now. i am learning to be more patient. to be very very very patient. and to control my feelings of exhaustion and frustration and loss of control. and i think that is the root problem here--that i need to give up trying to always be in control. the fact is that my son is a human being--a tiny little man of a human being, but an individual none the less. and we cannot control others. our children must be led.
and so my days as of late have been filled with a plethora of emotions-- intense love, holding tight, needing space, laughing, sighing, praising, disciplining, playing hard, napping hard, happiness, strength, uncertainity, scratching my head, tiredness and--one minute i feel strong and proud, like i'm possibly starting to get this thing right, the next i feel stripped and weak and completely helpless--but through it all, a LOT of love. intense love.
i so strongly love this kid, and this day-to-day life i live with him. i love learning how to love him, and how to gently lead him. i love getting to know him, and getting to know me. i so badly want to be the best i can be for him.

oh, the things this little man is capable of doing to me!

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