For the past 3 months, parenting has kind of been on cruise control. I knew the skills my daughter needed to learn and we practiced. So we did all the mixing, stacking, pretending, drawing, painting, eating, singing, dancing, molding, stamping, sticking and sharing in the world. We fell into a familiar routine that seemed to complement her needs. My words were golden and I felt like an effective parent. After one quarter, I think we need to upgrade the curriculum because she’s been awfully noisy– whining, refusing, lying down on the floor…your basic nightmare.
So for the past few weeks, we’ve been upgrading her routine by introducing different tools and mediums ( in addition to her potty training sticker incentive program) :
Honestly, she’s just * gulp * growing up. It’s funny I totally missed that since she did just celebrate her 2nd birthday. But I guess mothers tend to view their kids with the same pair of glasses. (For the record, I love age 1 to 2. Parenting 1.0 was FUN. As for age 2 to 3: no comment) It has taken a lot of noise for this mother to wake up, take off the rose- tinted glasses and just view her kid with a fresh pair of eyes. So here is my daughter in 2 year old form: she needs more challenges, more words, and more variety to supplement her growing need for independence.
The only thing I can compare it to is learning a new sport. You get a coach to learn the basics and become good enough to compete but not good enough to win. So there’s the balance of needing a coach for guidance/skill-building and practicing independently to think on your feet and win on your own. I am the coach and she is my protege.
This means changing the conversation and actually listening– she can talk now (duh). Little Libra 2.0 doesn’t do things out of pure obedience or routine. She needs to want to do it. She is a willful one and wants “control of her life.” When she doesn’t want to follow, she says “Goodbye! See you later!” Talk about toddler-style dismissal. But when she’s interested, she flies. Force, tone or threats don’t work as effectively as appealing to her reason and natural curiosity. So I am in the process of innovating my parenting style. I’m explaining/inventing reasons why we need to brush her hair, why we need to apply lotion, why we need to take a bath, why we need to potty. And her eventual obedience is so much more satisfying since it makes sense to her. It just takes so long to get there! But I’ll take the extra time to the noise any day.
This job doesn’t get any easier…