It donned on me, while I rinsed off dishes to put in the dishwasher, that I just asked my 3 year old if she was going to cry every day for the rest of her life as if she were capable of answering it honestly. Or as if it were a fair question to ask a child that age.
At the time, I'm sure she thought she was answering honestly as she mumbled what I thought sounded like a "yes", but I can't be sure since it got lost in the high pitch sounds of what resembled a puppy cry. This is what it sounded like when Alivia started to whine. Between her crying, and whining for what seemed to be the one millionth time that day, I thought I was going to lose it! Mind you, I haven't been feeling well. I have been fighting a sinus infection that spread through the house like a forest fire and even still, I mustered up the patience to make a silly game out of asking her not to run around the kitchen island near the hot stove. I would physically redirect her every time she would get near the stove, turning her around and pushing her off towards her dad who would do the same thing as she approached the other side of the island. All of a sudden, before the hubby and I knew it, she was crying and acting like her moody little self. You can imagine my patience, at this time, was dwindling, and quickly. I still demonstrated control when I demanded she go to her room in a relaxed and eager voice as if I were asking a waiter for the dessert menu. I can't deny that I was eager for her to go to her room so that I could enjoy some peace and quiet. I don't know what I was thinking. No sooner than we closed the door to her bedroom was she in full out tantrum mode. Screaming, kicking, crying, whining, etc.!
CRYING, WHINING, AND TANTRUMS, OH MY!
I could feel my face getting hot and the tears began to well up in my eyes. Without the hubby knowing, I casually snuck off to the bathroom to ball like a baby with questions like "where did I go wrong", "why was she acting this way", "am I being too hard on her", and the question that made me cry the most "when did we drift apart?"
Whether it was true or not, that's how I felt these past few months. It seemed like when Alivia turned 3, she became different. She was difficult, moody, stubborn, and questioning. Just when I thought she couldn't be any more repetitive than she already was, it became worse. She would ask something, I (or someone) would answer, and she would continue to ask again and again and again. It was nerve racking, frustrating, and anxiety provoking. Then, out of the blue, she started asking why all the time and questioning my disciplinary actions. Maybe you are familiar with this stage. Lord I hope you are 'cause, at this point, all I want to know is if there are others out there experiencing similar behaviors in their children.
But I'll tell you what kills me the most, that nearly splits my heart in two. It's a behavior that is the most challenging not to take personal.
It's the god-forsaken MOODINESS! Is that even normal? To be moody at 3? I realize the hubby may be partly to blame for this one (being a grumpy ol' bear himself), but I'm still thinking she's a little too young to demonstrate this behavior. I thought I had quite a few years before I had to deal with my daughter being mean or hurting me feelings. Wasn't that a conventional characteristic of the teenage years? Apparently the behavior didn't only define the teen years and this sick joke was on me! I'll never get over how heartbreaking it was to see her little hand push me away when I tried to cuddle her, ask her what's wrong, or simply play. Especially when all I could envision was that little hand tightly wrapped around my finger as she slept soundly in my arms in the first few months of her life.
What can I say; it's been hard. It's been disappointing. Mostly, though, it's been depressing. And the frequency of the punishments just seem to be increasing lately! And just when I thought I'd never be one of those mothers that sits outside their child's bedroom door after sending them to their room, there I was outside Alivia's room rolled up in the fetal position crying like an infant praying she wouldn't come out of her room and see me in all of my, um, splendor.
Between sending her to her room and taking toys away, let's just say it hasn't been Disney Land over here lately. In fact, if you walked into our house right now, you could probably cut the tension with a knife. It's been practically a war zone, and it's safe to say we are all sick and tired of living on fighting grounds.
Sometimes I wonder what gets me through each day without going completely insane or crying myself into an oblivion. And while I'd like to give up at times, I try to stay strong for my family, for Alivia. Although I may question my actions and wonder if I'm handling a situation the best I can, the healthiest thing I can do for everyone is exactly what I'm doing. I'll continue to question myself; it's what keeps me in check. I'll continue to feel disheartened when I have to take a toy away or send Alivia to her room; it's what keeps me humane. I will not call a truce; I will not give up. It's just not an option; not for this mommy anyway!
With Alivia growing into what I can only imagine is the first version of herself, I am happy to report she has also acquired some amazing characteristics and behaviors that any parent would be proud of. Even with her intermittent moodiness, she is, and always has been, a very loving child, and I never question that is her true self. She is super smart, imaginative, creative, and social. She's on many occasions demonstrated leadership, thoughtfulness, and has even learned how to stand up for herself. Mostly, though, she is a happy child. And isn't that what all parents want for their children (right after health of course)? Their happiness?
See, I knew must have been doing something right.
Now, it's your turn. Don't leave me hanging like I'm the only parent out there with a difficult toddler. If any of this sounds familiar, I need to hear from you especially if you have any helpful tips to get through this phase. I’d also love to hear how potty training is going. While Alivia has been trained for some time now, she has taken a few steps back. She’s been peeing in her underwear, something she’s never done before. And don’t even get me started on the pooping. It’s sort of a crappy subject for me (pun intended).
And before I let you go, there’s only 2 days left to link up to The PINcentive Blog Hop! As a reminder, our winners (3 are chosen every week) get major Pinterest exposure. On average, our winner’s content is being pinned between 50-80 times (sometimes more)! Trust me, it’s not an opportunity you should miss out on! At the very least, you will be able to meet some new bloggers, find some inspiring posts to share, and make some new friends. Not too shabby if you ask me!