I know…I know my baby is only 4 months old. Right now I can put R down and she stays there. She also laughs and coos at me when I am making no sense. She is, however, starting to get more and more wiggly and squirmy and that got me to thinking. Toddlerhood is coming. It is approaching faster than I can even imagine and that strikes fear in my heart. Like the kind of terror that really makes me go into a cold sweat. In fact, writing about it now makes me a feel a little bit off-balance in my brain. I am gobbling up book after book about how to be better at it this time. The last time I faced the toddler stage I was left questioning my sanity and having a few too many margaritas. I am reading Nonviolent Communication in the hopes that it will help me tame my propensity toward anger. I am also reading Thich Nhat Hahn’s book on Anger. I am trying to meditate and just breathe instead of constant worry. I fear toddlers. How can someone so small mirror our largest weaknesses? How can someone so small hit all the right buttons?
Let me explain why I am so fearful of these small humans. To go there, I have to give you some history on my oldest daughter. My daughter J, who is 8, is what you could call spirited…yea let’s just call it that. She is the type of kid who bounces off the walls. She does EVERYTHING loudly and with gusto. She doesn’t look before she leaps and doesn’t really give much thought to things before she acts. Today, in fact, we went out to play in the snow. A layer of ice had fallen over the snow. I knew her favorite part is throwing snowballs. I scraped the layer of ice off the top to get to the soft snow below. I wadded up a ball of snow and tossed it at her. She didn’t really see what I did and next thing I knew, a huge, sharp and pointy piece of ice was whizzing past my head! I had to explain to her that the ice has to be moved to get to the snow underneath! I am so glad she didn’t hit me! Everything is more with her. If she is sitting next to you on the couch she is moving so much that you lose concentration on whatever it is you are trying to do at the moment. Imagine sitting next to a tornado and trying to successfully read, blog or whatever. She is a talker and a questioner. She says some of the funniest things.
Here are some J-isms:
- She tells me that she is going to be rich and famous. When she is rich and famous she will have a maid and she will be nice to her maid…”Mom, I will only make her shine my crown a couple of times a week.
- When I grow up and am rich I will have my own pink private jet with my picture on the side of it.
- She tells her teacher that certain boys are her boyfriend, even if they are unaware of it.
- She asks me repeatedly why I don’t become famous for something…and acts like there is something wrong with me when I don’t want to become famous. When I explain to her that I don’t really do anything that would make me become famous, she asks, “Well why don’t you make a famous peach cobbler or something?”
- Our neighbor’s daughter loves Justin Bieber and had a birthday party and the cake had a picture of him on it. J promptly told everyone at the party that Justin Bieber was a no-talent has been and Jade could sing better than him.
- J determined the other day that she wanted a private rocket as well. The reason for this rocket, I am informed was that she was going to get in it and pick up Taylor Swift whenever she wanted to and MAKE her sing to her. When I told her that we couldn’t just kidnap people, she replied with, “Well Taylor Swift isn’t a kid.” I had to explain to her that we couldn’t just interrupt people’s lives and make them do stuff for us. She seemed genuinely perplexed.
- J will respond to any work-like discipline with, “Well at least I helped.” She has an amazing ability to find the positive in things…ALWAYS and even when inappropriate.
J hasn’t always been so intense. As a baby she was fairly easy-going. She only got intense when it came to food. She still wants to know every meal she is going to have from the time she wakes up to the time she goes to bed every day. But other than food she could be put anywhere and would be content where you had her. She enjoyed going and doing, so you could take her anywhere. We hit a snag when she turned into a toddler. She drove me to the end of my rope daily and although some of the stories I will share now seem funny, I didn’t see the humor back then. Toddlerhood was when I first realized that she never wanted to sit still. While I was asleep, she scaled the counters and the refrigerator and got the fabric glue…she then promptly glued herself and her blanket to the floor under the table in the dining room. She sat still enough until her pants and blanket were adhered to the floor. When I woke up, she was just hanging out under the table waiting for me to come rescue her. This was in an apartment and that one move cost me the WHOLE deposit. At her daycare, she had the miniature pottys that are toddler-sized. She would wait until all the teachers were busy and go to the bathroom. She would lift the seat and cram her butt down in the water to block up the hole. She would then wedge the seat over her shoulders so she was stuck and would reach around and start flushing. This would cause the toilet to overflow. She managed to flood bathroom using this maneuver…twice. She would also climb boxes and get in the breaker box and turn everything off leaving teachers tripping over themselves in the dark. She ate things that shouldn’t be eaten and knocked little boys out of their chairs to take their food. My things got destroyed. Toddlerhood and childhood with her has been busy! There were times when my anger would flair and I didn’t have enough patience to stay calm. She was also loving so I always felt guilty when I lost it. Those are not feelings you want to have a lot of…guilt and anger. I just wasn’t prepared for the energy and willpower that was Jade. I wasn’t prepared for the messes and the defiance. She would get disciplined and her attitude as a toddler was give me more!
Flash forward to today with a 4 month old. I am terrified…R can be fussy. She will scream with rage if we don’t respond to her promptly. She gets furious. I am talking about scream so hard that veins bulge on the side of her head. She is already showing signs of being stubborn and likes to have things her way. I don’t know which of her parents she gets that from. Ha! We watched a documentary while I was pregnant with her about badgers and saw a part where a badger chased a big ass bear off. The bear didn’t want no part of that badger. In the womb R didn’t want anyone messing with her. She would move away from any attempt to touch or listen to her. She would pull her limbs in if you touched her. Even today she doesn’t want me massaging her and she gets furious if people try to mess with her too much. She rages when put on her tummy for tummy time. She doesn’t like to sit but loves to stand. She likes her routine and wants us to follow that routine daily. Woe be to you if you mess up her schedule. Her daddy lovingly calls her the little badger. She has badger attacks of epic proportions.
J was so easygoing as a baby and quickly challenged me to my very limits in the toddler years. I didn’t get to sit down and relax for what seemed like three years! I felt like a horrible mother because I got angry so often. Trust me, I wanted to be that peaceful, fun, wonderful, perfect mom you see in pictures. R’s stubbornness is cute right now and we smile about it. But my question is, how is her personality going to translate into the toddler years? I can see the battles coming over shoes and rules!!! So this is why I am scared.
Oh Lord, give me patience. For R’s sake I hope I gained some during my time in the trenches with J! I certainly hope that they will one day look back and say I did a good job. That is all I really want.