Toddlers- Emotionally unstable pint-sized dictator, with the ability to know exactly how far to push you towards utter insanity, before reverting to a moveable cuddle monster
I have never seen a more truer quote in my life. Life with one kid, let alone a toddler is a tough, but having 2- a toddler and an almost 1-year-old might actually turn my whole head gray. I can’t decide if I should be extra skinny because I hardly have time to eat or extra-large since I eat like shit and I eat it fast. I’m a grazer so I eat all day long, but not a lot at once. Of course, now my mini-me does the same thing! Monkey see, monkey do and that is scary. I will touch on this in another blog about women empowerment. This blog is all about my lovely little fierce, strong-willed and stubborn baby girl, Juliana. She has always been a little restless since birth, but now that she is coming into her own personality, things can be crazy. She is the sweetest, most loving, little girl, but she’s not a cuddler unless she’s sick. She is full of energy and can literally go all day long without a nap. However, when she doesn’t nap, she is a terror at night- meltdowns, waking up during the night, moody, cranky. When she naps, she’s a new kid. She’s been fierce and sassy since day one. She doesn’t give up EVER, which in the long run is a good thing. Oh and the energy? It’s unreal. I am dizzy watching her. I will say as she has gotten a little older, maybe crossing over that 2.5 year old bridge, she seems to have calmed down a little and taken interest in things a little longer- she can do a puzzle for hours and she loves playing with her dollhouse. She can even sit and watch something on YouTube Kids or Netflix for a little while. Before, I would beg her to sit and watch a movie haha.
Then there’s not getting what she wants. Oh God, help anyone in her path when she doesn’t get what she wants. For example, the other night she wanted a popsicle and I said she had to sit down to eat it because there are times she is walking around licking it and it drops on the rug or she carelessly puts it down on the counter then it melts. That’s bad parenting on my part because some nights I don’t even want to fight with her so I let her eat the popsicle and send her on the way because I’m usually trying to nurse Hudson. Oh this parenting thing is SO hard. I am trying to balance everything and be a good mom, but also on the same page as Howie. I don’t like negative consequences but when I am at my Witt’s end, I usually go right to negative. The struggle is REAL.
When we go out places now she is so great, whereas before she was never the kid to sit in the grocery cart and hang out. She was standing up, trying to jump in the back, wanting to walk. Dude, just sit down. SIT for one minute so I can run into Target and get a few things. Nope, we were in and out in about 5 minutes. Now, thanks to the random lady at Once Upon a Child, we have a free double stroller that BUCKLES them both in and I can run my errands. It’s so hard getting them in and out of the car that sometimes I just want to stay locked in my house. Then of course you drive to Target or Costco (since those are the literally the only 2 stores we go to) and one of them falls asleep. The best is when they both fall asleep and I get to sit in the parking lot and BREATHE. It’s rare, but it’s celebratory. In that case, the shopping can totally wait. We went to Walmart the other day and they both did excellent. At one point I had to give her my phone to watch You Tube Kids because she became cranky at the end- AKA trying to bust out of the stroller screaming. That was fun. Also, thank you Gordon, the coat police. That’s a mom win- if you don’t put your coat back on, the coat police will be very upset. Thank goodness Gordon didn’t think I was crazy when I introduced him as the coat police as I winked hahah!
And then there is bedtime. She was the worst sleeper in history before 1…maybe even up until 1.5 years old. She had tubes in her ears and it made a world of a difference. She sleeps great at night, but getting her to sleep might actually be the death of me, especially when I’m alone. Naps make me want to jump out my window and run far far away. Juliana is the master at stalling. She wants more books, more water, change my diaper, etc. GO THE F TO SLEEP! It’s so important to be on the same page as your husband because if there’s one wrong turn, those toddlers get it and suck you up like shark. I want Daddy! I want Mommy! And then part of me wants to throw her in the crib and leave, but I can’t do that to her. My emotions are insane at this time, but I will say that if you are consistent with boundaries and rules, she will eventually respond, but it SOOO takes patience and calmness. When I’m alone, it’s a true shit show. Hudson is crawling around the room, trying to climb the crib, Jules is playing with her dollhouse refusing to clean up. The other night I actually had to take her dollhouse out of the room while she screamed and tried to make herself puke. Then I had to shut her door while I put Hudson in the crib and run back in there to try to hold her and explain to her that it’s time for bed and it’s not a choice anymore. She gets it, but she needs to be done tantrumming to even hear anything. When she’s calm, she is able to reason- kind of like me as a mama.
The tantrums can be intense and sometimes I wonder if it’s normal. I used to wonder if she had ADHD or if food dyes affected her, or if her stomach hurt, etc. Any excuse to why she would tantrum so intensely hit her head, scream at the top of her lungs, make herself puke tantrum. Then I talk to other moms and realize this is normal, but because of her temperament and her strong-willedness, her tantrums are just extra intense. And let me tell you, she is the most stubborn and strong-willed child I have ever met and I have worked with MANY children.
But I wouldn’t trade her for the world. She will be a leader someday. If you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up: “When my get bigger, my shave my legs. When my get bigger, my be a doctor.” When she went to the hospital for a severe stomach bug and had to get an IV, she loved every minute of it and 5 months later, she still asks for an IV. She is smart, creative, and bold and will not let anyone walk all over her. She perseveres and never gives up. She loves dance class and does excellent- can focus for 45 minutes, took her awhile, but she can do it. However, when she went to MyGym for classes, she bombed out and I thought for sure we would have been kicked out. They sit in a circle and follow directions then get to use all the fun equipment. She walks in and darts straight for the equipment. Then I sweat in every part of my body and quickly apologize to the staff as I am trying to make her sit. Yeah, this isn’t enjoyable. This was also when she was exactly 2. We also tried gymnastics when she was 2. That was fun…NOT. Another girl her age did gymnastics and did amazing. Being a mom, sometimes you beat yourself up because you think something is wrong. But when she loves something, she loves it whole-heartedly and she got that from her mama. The temper might be from Daddy…just saying.
Toddlers are hardcore. You never know what they want. They think you know, but really you have no idea. They are perfect angels in Target and then we get in the car and it’s a raging heavy metal concert. Or she’s perfect with Nana and Papa or Mimi and Papi and then mama comes and she goes crazy. And until you understand them and give them everything they want, you are screwed. Watch out world.
One thing I will say that helps my sunshiny toddler is 1-1 time with just me. She gets 1-1 time with Daddy more than me since I am still nursing Hudson. After he was born, what killed me was when she said that I was Hudson’s and she was Daddy’s- not sure what we were, but she was claiming us. Poor thing is so used to being the center of attention, so I think a lot of these tantrums have to do with fighting for attention. I do love when it’s just me, Jules, and Hudson, but when it’s more than 24 hours I do start going crazy- that’s why I give stay at home moms MAJOR props. I went to Panera with Jules one night after dance class and it was the best feeling ever. I got to bring her to dance while Howie stayed with Hudson. Usually Daddy or Nana and Papa bring her. She wasn’t doing well when I came with Hudson- not earning stickers and acting out on purpose- looking for my attention. One of her teachers actually said she does better when I am not there. While I know that it was true, it really hit me hard. So when I got to bring her to dance and she did amazing, I realized she is fighting for my attention. We went to Panera after on a dinner date and it was amazing. We had a conversation and shared a blueberry peach smoothie then went to Target. She even walked with me. And Ms. Sassypants even picked out new sunglasses, bathing suit and shoes. She is SO funny that she even said, “My need new pants and shoes because they are too small.” She is right. She is getting bigger and I will miss her SO much when she grows up. But being with just her makes us both so happy and we need to remember to build in that time.
I totally get it- toddlers are supposed to tantrum. Tantrumming toddlers are normal, but it’s SO important to stay calm and consistent. They will scream and cry at all different intensities. Let them. Ask them if they are okay. If they are screaming their heads off, they most likely won’t hear a word you say. Remind them to take deep breaths. She reminds me to take deep breaths and I love that I taught her that. I believe in peaceful parenting, but know that it’s okay to lose your shit here and there. Try not to in front of them, but forgive yourself if you do. If you constantly yell at your kids, they learn to do it back. Don’t be afraid to set limits and boundaries and stick to them, even when they make the saddest and cutest faces. Know what motivates them and know that at the end of the day, they love you unconditionally.
For now, I will buckle up and breathe. If I forget to breathe and remind myself that I am so very blessed with 2 beautiful and healthy children and a hardworking husband, I can lose it easily. Especially being a full time elementary special education teacher. Just breathe mama, you got this. Just breathe baby, you got this.
Like I tell my kids at work and my own kids, take a birthday breath. It will all be okay.