I have a confession to make. Up until last week, I think I truly believed that I would get by without experiencing "the terrible twos". It's not that I thought my parenting skills were above it, I see my weaknesses even more than I'd like to admit. And it's not that I thought Aiden was perfect, I love him dearly, but I am not in denial of the human conditon. Aiden has had his obstinate days and thrown his fair share of tantrums, but nothing that left me standing there in shock without a clue of what to do. When I've seen it happen to other people, I've felt compassion, but always had several ideas of what I would do if it were happening to me. Too bad those ideas don't feel so bright when I am the one in those situations; my child screaming at me and even hitting me over something as insignificant as offering the wrong kind of snack, or heaven forbid, trying to help him take off his jacket. Everything I try seems to make it worse. And its not like it just happens once or twice a day. Everything is battle! I can't even seem to ask him if his oatmeal tastes good without a, "No mommy!" His voice contorting into a low growl that resembles that of a very temperamental goblin. When bedtime finally arrives and I leave him screaming in his room, I allow my exhausted body to collapse on my own bed and try not to cry myself. Or I just let myself cry. I replay the scenarios that stick out the most and try to think of how I can handle them better the next time. Then I think through the last week, trying to figure out what could be causing this sudden outbreak of terror. What have I been doing differently? Is he teething? Is he not feeling well? Is he tired? Is he being controlled by sadistic aliens? Nothing I can think of seems to fully explain it. Except, perhaps, that he is two.
I often get down on myself when things get hard, like it must be my fault, that I am doing something wrong to be so weak. I know I have plenty of reasons to be exhausted. I am pregnant, not sleeping well, sick, and caring for a toddler. What scares me is, there is only more to come. This week all I could think was that I can't wait for my energy to return, but then it hit me, when I am not pregnant anymore, that means I will have a newborn. I will still not be sleeping, I will be drained from breastfeeding. What if Aiden is still going through this? In the summers we hardly see Aaron, will I be able to continue to do this on my own? Today during nap instead of doing several productive things I had in mind, I decided instead to eat a chocolate glazed donut and watch Parenthood. I allowed myself to eat the half I thought about saving for Aaron and cry about other people's drama. Although I don't think this is a healthy way to deal with most things in life, it certainly felt good for today. As the credits began to roll and I snapped back into reality, reality didn't seem quite so bad or as draining as it could be. Today was at least better than yesterday, and really, today is the only day I can worry about right now. As that cross-stitch hanging in my parent's bathroom says, "Do the best you can today and don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow has enough worries of it's own." Or something like that. So today I will cling to the fact that my son still ran to me for comfort when he fell, and my kisses still made his hurt hand feel better. I'll pray for the wisdom to look to God for strength, instead of focusing so despairingly on my weaknesses. I will probably need your prayers as well, as I can be about as stubborn as a two-year-old.