My son is 2.
You know, that special time in a child’s life when they suddenly have a will of their own and use it every chance they get? Yeah. That.
Everything green on his plate will not be eaten, not even tried, maybe even thrown.
It will take no less than one hour from the time I tuck him in bed till he actually goes to sleep. (and on the rough nights… 2 hours.)
The bed will be gotten out of no less than 32 times.
No is his favorite word.
When I say it’s time to leave, there will be that sparkle of mischief before he takes off running in the opposite direction… and after I catch up to him, he may start kicking and yelling depending on how badly he wants to stay.
Parenting Jed is hard right now. There are days when I contemplate whether or not I should just cave and let him live off of chicken nuggets and goldfish and stay up till he falls asleep on the couch. It seems easier.
Discipline and consistency are not exactly easy. And some days, when you are with a toddler… progress is difficult to see.
And then I think of Addy. The other day we were wandering through the produce section of Costco. Addy points at the huge bag of asparagus and asks, “Mom, can we get that green stuff? I like it.”
I stopped in my tracks and perhaps looked a little more stunned than I should have. Play it cool, Mom. Play it cool. I smiled, “Why, yes. Yes, we can.”
It was like sparkles and a glowing light had descended upon us in that super store. Break through. Victory. Sweet fruit of my labors. Maybe it was in the simplest, most everyday-ordinary of ways, but we were overcomers.
My mind flashed to the 2 year old battles I had had with my picky, toe-headed daughter over the dinner table. I remember trying different tactics. I remember evenings of frustration. I remember wondering if I was going about it all wrong and if all this was really worth it. I knew I wanted a healthy child and a girl that would be brave enough to try new things.
So I did it. I pressed forward. I drew my line in the sand. And it wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t overnight. I am not exactly sure when the shift happened. I just know that now she eats a lot of what I put in front of her (save but her short list of foods she cannot stand no matter what. I can live with that. I have my own short list. Mushrooms are and always will be nasty nasty little things.)
Bedtime is no longer a battle with Addy. She knows my “momma means business” voice and acts accordingly. Sometimes I have to remind her I mean business, but it’s not daily, it’s not even weekly.
Addy brushes her teeth. She shampoos and conditions. She dresses herself. She goes to the potty all by herself. She picks up toys. She loves helping momma (and some of her “help” is actually helpful.)
At some point, Addy stopped being a toddler and became little girl. At some point, the discipline and wisdom took root in her heart.
All that hard work eventually paid off.
I need to remember this on the hard days. The strategy for the "terrific" 2's might not be profound or easy, but here it is: Keep at it, momma. Don't give up. Keep love first and foremost. Do what’s best for your children in the long run and in light of eternity. Keep mold and shaping. Keep disciplining.
Change might creep in slowly so that you barely recognize it… until one day your child asks for green veggies and the light shines down on you and you look back and realize you’ve been making progress all along.
You’ve got this, momma.
The sweet rewards of hard work will soon be yours.
Does it help knowing that each child is different and what worked for the first will likely not work for the second? Yeah. Sorry. But, hey… motherhood is this glorious adventure in which we likely will not ever lose our need to lean on Jesus.
What would you add to this list? What are your current parenting battles?