- She is the sort of kid who will say, “Mama, don’t worry. You’re a great friend.”
- …and the sort of kid who will demand to join me in the bathroom, sit on my lap and bark, “YOU HAVE TO GO POOP!”
- She is the sort of kid who, when you offer her more of something, will pleasantly reply “Yes please!” if she genuinely wants more, or graciously say, “No, thank you!” in the sort of tone that makes my heart flutter fast and think I’m doing something right.
- …and the sort of kid who will moments later petulantly demand any number of things – a doughnut, the iPad, a cuddle, for the dog to be dropkicked into next week – and until you pay her heed will begin to carp, “NO TALKING! No talking, Mama!” as though she were the only human being to need attention.
- She is the sort of kid who will grab my face in the middle of church and say, “Mommy, you look beautiful today!”
- …and she is the sort of kid who will grab my face in the middle of a store and say, “Mommy! What is that BIG BOO-BOO on your FACE?”
- She is the sort of kid who will happily comply when I ask her to put away all of the toys she got out and played with for an entire afternoon, whether or not I’m in the room watching over her.
- …and she is the sort of kid who will melt down if you ask her to put the lid on her crayon box, including tossing each and every crayon across the room.
- She is the sort of kid who now automatically does her own little family chores during the day – helping me make the bed, feeding Glinny, taking her dishes and put them into the sink.
- …and she is the sort of kid who thinks nothing of using my clothes as a wash towel, dumping each and every pillow in the house into a pile on the floor and “painting” the dining room table with melted popsicle.
- She is the sort of kid who knows all of her letters, knows all of her colors, knows what letter of the alphabet her favorite animals begin with, can read a few rudimentary words, can add and subtract using basic math programs, is drawing shapes and can count to 20 – 10 in Spanish.
- …and she is the sort of kid who, if you ask her what she did today, will stare at you blankly and name off something she probably did last week. If she doesn’t do this, then she’ll simply stomp off and say nothing.
Abigail is two, soon to be three in four short months. There is nothing in the world I would change about her, and parenting through the toddler years – despite this vast, kid-typical dichotomy – remains vastly more awesome for me than the baby stage. The tantrums. The meltdowns. The awful hygiene. The clinginess. I love it.
The screaming fits don’t bother me – it’s tough being a little person, and it’s my job to show her the proper response to the world, and it’s not to respond with more anger and frustration. Besides, I’m not sure how much toddlers really “get” angry, fear-based tactics from the adults in their lives or constructively process such behavior. You end up with scared human beings who never learn how to deal with their emotions, other than to just get angry. I’m not always perfect, but so far I’ve managed not to completely lose my cool, which surprises no one more than me. I don’t suspect this will always be the case, of course, but I’m proud (and feel awfully lucky) that I’ve been able to keep a pretty firm, even-keel when it comes to discipline with AG.
Now that I’ve said this I fully expect to go ballistic on her this week at some point for the most mundane of thing. Such is this whole parenting thing, and I haven’t hit my wall just yet.
But I tell her this every night, as I put her to bed, no matter the day we had: I like you just the way you are. And I mean it. And I say it just in case I was too firm, or if the time out scared her a little too much, or if she is really anything like me and is deep down terrified that breaking the rules means I don’t love her. I want her to know that when we discipline her, it’s not about who she is.
And lucky for me, she is the sort of kid who says, “Thank you, Mama. I like you just the way you are, too.”