I’ve always considered myself to be a very patient person; even after I had children. I remained patient as my newborn cried through the night and I was up and down trying to figure out what she needed. I remained patient through the exploratory 12-18 month age when she was just learning the concept of “no” requiring me to be up and down A LOT in order to physically pull her away from the “no no” item(s): “Not for JJ”. Having made it through these stages with minimal collateral damage; other than a few extra wrinkles and a new found tolerance for sleep deprivation; I was confident the closer and closer my daughter got to the infamously labeled “terrible twos” that I was going to soar on through with no problem. Remaining calm, patient and loving…
But as any mom who has survived the toddler years knows, when children enter the curious “terrible two’s” they have a very special (I say clinching my teeth) and unique way of testing your patience.
They are relentless!
“Mommy… mommy… mommy… mommy….MOOOOOOMMMMYYY!!!!”
“I want… I want… I want… I WAAAAAANT!!!!”
“No… no… no… no… no… NOOOOOOO!!!”
They never say anything just once… it’s always repeatedly…repeatedly…repeatedly… (It’s possible my toddler is rubbing off on me…)
Whoever said “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” must have been a mother! And must have been referring to the infamous toddler years!!
It’s hard to gain perspective when you are living in the belly of the beast! And that is currently where I am living – right in the thick of it with toddler #1 who is about to turn three and wants to do everything “my-self!” and toddler #2 who is in the lovely 12-18 month range opening drawers and climbing on everything. Between the two I don’t know how I am able to keep any form of sanity. They feed off of each other and I swear each morning they make some sort of secret pact, “Let’s see how we can drive mommy crazy today!”
Yes, surviving the toddler years can be challenging at times (a lot of the time), but when I take a step back and force myself to look at the world through their eyes I gain some much needed perspective. Sure, the frequent, relentless reminders and requests can be exhausting and pull at my very last nerve, but I when I look at the world through their eyes I can see what a special (no teeth clinching) time they are at in their lives. A time when everything is new and exciting, “shiny and new”! A time when anything is possible! Though I am constantly intervening to prevent nose dives in the carpet and finger pinches in drawers and doors… my children just living life! Living free of limitations! Living without a care in the world! What an amazing place to be! I think any one of us do whatever we could to live in this place even for a day!
It’s up to us as parents to help them navigate through this adventurous time in life safely. Providing boundaries. Preparing them for the “real world”. Giving them the security they need to know you are there to catch them when they are falling and mend their wounds if they hit the ground.
Yes, loving a toddler means pulling your hair out and testing your patience to the limit… but more than that, loving a toddler means you are helping develop confidence in a precious little human atop a foundation of love they can fall back on for the rest of their life; and a structure of security they can always lean on knowing that even through the tantrums and the relentless demands you will always love them… always…no matter what…
Dear Jesus, thank you for my precious, curious, relentless toddlers! Thank you for the opportunity I have as their mother to help guide them through life. Everything is bigger and brighter to them now making each and every component all the more enticing to explore. Be with me Lord, as I create boundaries for them. Increase my patience threshold and flood my heart with love… your love. This way I know when life gets intense and a bit overwhelming I will have the ability to take a step back and see the world through their eyes… through precious innocence. Replace my frustrations with compassion. Empower me to rise above the situation at hand and see the bigger picture. Allow grace to flood my heart as I navigate through this time in my children’s lives. In Jesus Mighty Name, amen.
What are some of your “go to” tips for surviving the toddler years?