My little peanut is in such a fascinating stage at the moment. It’s all about her independence. From her clothing choices (“I want to wear a pretty dress, Mummy”) to our daily activities (and the speed with which we do them). It’s required a lot of patience that I, admittedly, don’t always possess. I struggle between wanting to give her the opportunity to walk from point A to B (and allowing her to inevitably dawdle and wander aimlessly) and the need to control the pace (aka strapping her into the stroller–which can be a battle at times). Even the stroller is a gamble. She may insist on pushing the thing, thus eliminating it’s usefulness altogether. She loves to look at each garden we pass, examining tiny rocks along the sidewalk and even tinier bugs. She wants to walk down the stairs “on OWN,” even if that translates to her basically sitting down on the step and not moving. She wants to apply her own sunscreen (meaning she gets pretty pissed when I inevitably have to even it out) and climb into her crib (even though it’s going to take at least a few more inches of height for her to even come close to her goal). She wants to look through every book on her shelf when it’s long past bedtime. “No” is only an invitation for her to do the offending behaviour repeatedly and with glee. An offshoot of this is that word that makes me cringe: mine. That will probably require it’s own post though.
It’s amazing how someone still so dependent on me (I mean, come on, she only recently turned two!) can demand so much freedom. I’m trying to find a good balance. I want to allow her to feel more autonomy (and avoid avoidable meltdowns, please and thank you) while maintaining important boundaries–particularly when it comes to safety or treating others gently. It ain’t easy, I’ll tell ya.
We’ve reached some little compromises (when she’s in an agreeable mood). I may do her sunscreen, but assign her a foot or arm to rub some in herself. I can sometimes coax her down the steps with a nearby goal that peaks her interest (Dandelions! Trains!). When I’m behind on laundry, she might agree to wear a “pretty shirt” instead of a dress, if I hype it up just right. I try to get her to do some running on our walks or we play “red light, green light” to speed things up between her flower smelling or, if I’m very lucky, she’ll let me pop her on my shoulders. We’ll read a book or two and I’ll let her take one to bed (she usually picks the largest of the bunch). I’ll help her part way into the crib, but let her slip in from the edge “on her own.”
Before you say it, I know she’s probably ready to switch to a toddler bed, and we’ll get there, but not just yet. I have put potty training a little higher on the list and doing both at once, well, I’m not sure if I can handle it, frankly. We’ve been having some bedtime struggles of late and my tolerance for sleep or routine shake up is already limited. It’s all about me ok. But seriously. The hilarious thing is that she can probably handle it all. In fact, there is no doubt she would love a bed she could climb right into (and out of! *shudder*) and she’ll probably be more accepting of her life sans diapers than I will. I keep worrying over things like long car rides and having to limit park sessions (for lack of adjacent washrooms), having to cut her off water at night (and the battle that will ensue), and the inevitable (and understandable) accidents at 3am. I think I need to definitely get back into meditation because I will have to call on an even greater reserve of patience than ever before. I want to make this a pleasant-ish experience too. As much as potty training can be anyway.
Time to practice my deep breathing.