It’s been two weeks… I know I should write more often, but this is where I’m at right now.
In those two weeks, we’ve had a handful of genuine tantrums. The first one over chapstick that I mentioned last post. The next one at a restaurant we’ve been to a handful of times. And Ainsley comes out to eat with us so often, I was surprised it happened at all. Before we ordered anything besides water, we were out the door faster than anyone could say “check please.” She lost her shit the entire ride home, and rolled around in the living room for a good 40 minute before I carried her upstairs, put her pjs on her and laid her in bed. That was a rough night because it was the very first real tantrum. Adam said he didn’t have the patience to deal with is – which I can at least thank him for being honest – so he had to walk away. It was me and her.
Since then, we’ve had a few minor meltdowns, but nothing that couldn’t be handled by food or me giving her space. I’ve ordered a few books and read articles about how to handle these meltdowns. I am trying my best to arm myself for what’s about to come for the next few years.
The best advice I’ve found so far and try my very hardest to stay true to is this – Everyone has bad days, even toddlers. Everyone has emotions, even toddlers. Everyone should be allowed to use those emotions, especially on those bad days, even toddlers. I read somewhere it’s “lather, rinse, repeat.” Parents give an order, kid doesn’t like it and flips out, parent punishes kid for flipping out, and so on and so on.
I recently stumbled upon The Gottman Institute. They are a research-based instituted whose mission is to strengthen relationships – marriage, parenting and professionally. Their approach matches how I want to parent. I say how a WANT to parent, because we all know once we’re thrown in the middle of something and shit hits the fan, swear words flying around, the way we see ourselves parenting goes out the window. But The Gottman recently shared this, and I’ve saved it and read it often.
I joke that Ainsley is my little time bomb. Funny, because last post she was my little barnacle. And she’s always been my chick. Sometimes I feel like I’m tiptoeing around, hoping however I handle things doesn’t set her off. And other times I think, ya know, she may hate this but this is what’s happening.
I know that this is just the beginning of my child pushing limits, learning what she can and can’t do, figuring out how to get away with shit. I know she isn’t perfect and I’m new to all of this. It’s a very strange transition going from babyhood to small-humanoid.
All you mamas who have a few years, months and even weeks on me have so much more knowledge and experience. You’re probably laughing at my hippie ways. You probably know something about me that I don’t even know about myself yet. I’m sure I have a breaking point and my patience will wear thin.
Let me enjoy my rose-colored glasses. Let me think for a second, as the parent to a fresh 19-month-old, that I may have the tiniest sliver of parenting figured out. Because if we keep beating ourselves up for every tantrum or diaper that wasn’t changed quickly enough or the times your kid goes to bed without dinner, we’d all be covered with so many self-inflicting injuries that we wouldn’t even recognize ourselves.
If you see me losing my cool, please call me on my bullshit. If you have any advice for a mom to a fresh toddler, send it my way. If you want to tell me I’m too free-spirited in my parenting ways, fuck off. Mommin’ sure ain’t easy, but it’s pretty damn amazing.