For a while now I have been knee-deep in the muddy trenches of toddler tantrums, independence, defiance and tears, also known as, The Terrible Two’s! There was a time when the sound of my voice meant something to my son, but now it means absolute crap! LOL! Oh and I found out it’s not just me, but his father’s voice falls on deaf ears too! Literally he has no interest in anything we have to say that has a “no”, “stop” or “don’t” in the sentence attached to the two voices he loves most in the world! This is very annoying. By annoying I mean ridiculously frustrating!
Now I was a nanny/babysitter for a couple of different families while they were going through this toddler transition and I really don’t remember it being THAT bad. I remember there were moments, but overall I never really had trouble. Well, now I am starting to realize that I didn’t have issues because I wasn’t their parents. I had no idea what happened when I wasn’t around, and now I realize it probably wasn’t fun for mom and dad! I swear my son wakes up shaking his head or saying no or reminding me that he will do it!! He listens to others. A perfect stranger on the street could tell my son to stop running and he’ll stop dead in his tracks. Me?! HA!! Unless I’m giving into his requests, he doesn’t hear me. Well last night fears creeped into my dreams.
Last night I dreamed I was alone with my son at the Disneyland riding the new Cars Land ride in their California Adventure Park. Jaxon has been talking about this non stop, so we were finally here. In my dream the Cars Land ride turned into an indoor ride with various Disney-Pixar scenes. Jax absolutely loves Buzz Lightyear and so in my dream he was going crazy over the whole Toy Story section of this ride. Well as we get toward the drop part of the ride, my two-year old decides to unbuckle himself from his seat and escape the moving car we are in. I’m fighting with him to keep him in the car and cannot. Then he takes off running after Buzz Lightyear. I cannot get myself out of the this seatbelt and no one is helping me or running after my son. I finally get unhooked and run after Jax. But as I’m running he starts to laugh, thinking this is a game. It’s not a game! And I’m panicking now. There are people all around me and no one wants to help. We get outside the ride and I call after him to stop. He turns around to tell me, No! I call back out to him in a stern voice demanding he come back to his mother. He turns away from me and runs toward the bay and dives into the water maybe 50 feet below me. When I reach the water he is struggling to swim toward the dock. I run down a mountain of stairs to reach the dock and a scuba diver is bringing up. Then I awoke with a start! I was completely drenched in sweat and my heart is racing out of my chest.
Now clearly this was an absurd weird dream! However there are days when I call out to my son and he won’t stop. Or if I chase after him, he assumes I’m playing with him and he will continue to run ahead. Every parent’s nightmare is your child running into a parking lot, the street or out of your sight. Most people feel it’s okay to not say No to your child. That it stifles their creativity and their ability to make proper decisions. I am not one of those parents. It just doesn’t work like that for me and my stubborn toddler. I mean I don’t just say no to say no, I’m teaching boundaries. I say no and give him the reason why I am saying no. I feel like I’m teaching him respect for others, property and himself. Can’t lie. It feels like a daily struggle of power between the two of us. Yes, I want him to do things for himself and learn cause & effect for himself, but at the same time, he’s 2. He can’t completely run the schedule, he can’t always get his way and people do need to be able to eat their food in peace. I mean how can I teach him to be a good citizen if I don’t teach him how to live within rules as well as ways to create new ones. On the flip side people say to me all the time, he’s only 2. Yes he is only 2. He’s going to do things that 2 year olds do and he should be able to be 2. But I can’t just let him run free for a few years and then all of sudden give him rules. That’s a little crazy. My son is very smart and I talk and treat him like a little person. I give him reasons for why he is in trouble or why it’s not okay to do what he was doing. So that he understands WHY he shouldn’t let go of mommy’s hand while we cross the street. I feel that he can be creative and mannerable all at the same time. I’m just so damn exhausted!! And having dreams like I had last night don’t help! Everyday is a pick your battle day. There are things I stay on top of him with like his manners, sharing, eating when it’s time to eat, not being rude, etc. So when it comes to things like what he’s wearing, having his pacifier sometimes, wearing socks with his Crocs, having milk as opposed to water…sometimes I let him have at it! LOL!
And I will be the first to admit that my son has his own iPod that he listens to while in his stroller. That I still use a stroller for my two-year old and there are times when I am walking with him by myself that I will use the kid leash. Now I have had some nosey healthy able people say some awful things to me to my face and in passing when Jax wears his Monkey backpack. Depending on what is said, I’ll either address it or ignore. I don’t snap back with a rude comment, I really try to get them to understand why some parents like myself, have to use the leash. Somedays I don’t outwardly look sick or even really feel sick, so maybe in their eyes I look like a young lazy parent. Sometimes people just don’t know or understand. How can you expect them to understand if you don’t teach them. I let them know that for a mother or father who has an autoimmune disease or a handicap, the kid leashes are really great for the child’s safety and you’re peace of mind. I wrap the strap around my wrist, and we hold hands and walk. My child likes to slip out of my grasp whenever he sees something cool or interesting and in a place like a farmer’s market on a busy day this can be quite dangerous. So even though I call and chase after him, I still feel safe that he won’t be too far from my grasp because I am holding on to the leash. I say do what works for you. I have a very curious, high energy, strong willed child. I like to take him out and show him things and my stroller & kid leash help me with that. It’s not used instead of discipline, it’s used with discipline. I never yank on the leash or pull at him… for the most part he doesn’t even know that I am attached to his backpack because we walk like we normally would if he didn’t have it on.
There are days when I feel like I am making a dent in the tantrum department and then I am brought back to reality with a very public melt down. He laughs at the thought of a Time Out! Sometimes the threat of a spanking will lead to an, “okay, a spanking!”. I don’t negotiate over things like bedtime, dangerous situations or food…but I feel like I’m not getting anywhere most days! It’s so incredibly frustrating. Sometimes he just decides he’s gonna scream and cry for no reason and I wanna scream and cry right along with him!! HAHAHA!! Remember when you’re toddler was an infant and they barely said two tangible words and you prayed for them to walk and talk… well now I wish for just one day of goo-goo, ga-ga! Just one!