Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Terrible Toddlers

Right after she turned 1, Ella went through this phase where, honestly, I wasn't sure if we'd both make it.

It was either going to be her or me.

And no matter who survived, it wasn't going to be pretty.

Luckily, she got easier.

When I was at the true end of my rope, her language skills blossomed, and her comprehension sky-rocketed.

And while she was no perfect 1-year-old specimen, she was bearable.

And then she hit 19 months old.

Honest to God, she's like a million terribles I didn't anticipate happening.

Yesterday, she threw a tantrum over the fact that, from what I can tell, she couldn't carry four books, a stuffed pig, and a toy teapot with her knees.

A 45-minute screaming, fighting tantrum.  Over a physical impossibility.

We then had about 30,000 conversations that went, i.e., whined on, as follows:

Ella: Mommy?
Me: Yes?
Ella: Mommy, Mommy?
Me: What, baby?
Ella: Mommy?
Me: What's up?
Ella: Mommy?
Me: Yes, love?

And on and on and on and on and on.

I'm still not sure what she wanted.  Other than to test out how hoarse and offensive her little voice could be, while hitting unbearably tough pitches of whiny-ness.

Other tantrums also ensued, in a matter of hours, because the grocery-cart buckles wouldn't snap, her least-favorite baby doll wouldn't talk back, I didn't make her avocado-tomato sandwich in under 51 seconds, and I only let her have three pickles, and not four, with her lunch.

She's super-sensitive to sleep.  Too much?  And she's groggy and clingy to a fault.  Too little?  And you might as well light a Molotov cocktail and throw it into a room full of senior citizens knitting with flammable yarn.

She wants to do things herself, but refuses to be alone to try them.  She loves to be out and about, socializing.  But she throws an absolute fit while we get there.

If she wants to "side" at the park, we better do it.  Right then.  If she wants a "snackie," that means she wants rice cakes.  Right then.  Or hummus and crackers.  Or almonds.  Or freeze-dried mango.  Who knows, really.  She can clearly name whatever "snackie" she wants. But she won't.  And God forbid you guess wrong.

I have tried every tactic in my book.  Nothing's working.

The Terrible 2s are here.  And I am not used to them.

Last month, I was ready and willing.  My fears about having two girls 20 months apart had faded to a dull pastel color.  I knew it wouldn't be easy.  But I really thought I could do it.

And now?  I'm not sure I'll survive parenting just this one.

I'm actually looking forward to spit up.  And 30 diaper changes per hour.  And constant nursing.  And unexplainable fits of gas and colic.

Somehow, that all makes a lot more sense than this.

The problem is, add that to the already current tumult that is toddlerhood in our house right now, and there won't be any question who my favorite child in my house will be.

Yes, that's right.  The third, as-of-yet-unconceived child, who demands nothing from me.  That one I will love the best.

I am already really tired and really pregnant.  And now, Ella is fighting back.

She's clingy but independent.  She's high-energy but easily over-stimulated.  She's super chatty and yet, can't - or won't - explain what she's craving in her heart of hearts.

And she's about to have a baby sister, right in the middle of the Terrible 2s.

Pretty sure this is scarier than when I first saw The Ring in high school.

And I've never been a brave girl, either.
Yesterday was bad.

Like, I wasn't sure I could be trusted to feed her dinner, bathe her, and read her a bed-time story without jumping out a window by the end of it.

But then I found myself sitting on the floor, one of her little arms around my neck while she munched on a bowl of steamed green beans in her footie pajamas, all while telling me, "I wuv you, mama. Kisses."  Granted, she demanded I then bestow kisses on Marvin ("Mo") next.  But still, cute stuff.

She went to bed soon after without a hitch.  And I realized we'd survived another day.

It reminded me that I am grateful for some things about toddlerhood: The fact that she often sleeps through the night, the highly verbal skills she's acquired that make things exceedingly funny; the ability she has to actually play and play-act with toys and not just gum them and whip them about.

Her many expressions.  The fact that she's a little sponge who picks up colors and numbers and letters, even, like it's no big deal.  I watched her read a Dr. Seuss book aloud to me yesterday, and she remembered a lot of the words and corresponded them to the correct page and everything.

Her mind is a steel trap, this one.

But that's what makes it hard, too.  I know she knows better.  I know she knows what she's doing.  I know the incessant screaming she did in the car yesterday was calculated.  And I know she knows that it grates on me.

Developmentally, I also know this is all normal.

And I know that remaining calm, validating how she feels, removing her from situations where she can't be successful and can easily frustrate us both, as well as ignoring negative behaviors that are simply attention-seeking, so as not to reinforce the behaviors, are the right way to go.

Easier said than done, on some days, anyway.

And a lot easier said than done when your 20 month old is also expected to share your energies and attentions with a newborn.

There's no way around it; life is about to get real interesting around these parts.

This, in fact, is likely just the warm-up. 

Poor Ella.  Poor me.  Poor all of us.

And now, here goes nothing.


Renae said...

I feel like I could have written this! My 21 month old is the exact same way and I'm so glad that I'm not the only one who has that momma? Comvo :-) I'm also a few weeks out from having #2 and it gets overwhelming thinking about keeping 2 of them alive ;-) good luck to you momma!

Anonymous said...

You can do it! I'm three months in to the 2 kids 20 months apart scenario and I can honestly say it's going much better than I expected. There have certainly been moments, but overall it's been ok. Just lower your expectations for personal hygiene etc. :) There have been plenty of days I don't get to shower or realize at 6pm I haven't brushed my teeth yet!

Erika said...

This is our story minus me being pregnant and S being a tad less verbal. I was having this discussion in twitter last night seems like the toddlers who have an increased verbal capacity v. their developmental age get extremely frustrated because they know what they want and they can say the words of what they want, but they are still little so they can't always explain it correctly. Then tantrum ensues. We have had back arching screaming tantrums because I requested clothes to be put on before we go to the park. Silly me, naked is always best. Or the fact that after she goes potty she can only wash her hands once, not 10 times. Sometimes this mastery phase wears me out:)

Rachel said...

Ugh, I feel your pain! My daughter knows and understands so many words. She can them when prompted, and occasionally says them when she is prompted. Most of the time though...she just screams and whines until I somehow figure out what it is she so desperately needs.

Anonymous said...

Been there, done that...I have an almost 18 year old that was like this. Best advice is structure and consistency. Frustrations would get worse when she was about to have a physical growth spurt. Turned into angel at 3, back to rat at 4, and back to angel at 5. Time moves slow now, but time has moved so fast to me now. Prays for patience!!!

Melissa Gill said...

Oh Brittany, i hear ya! As the boys get older I feel it keeps getting harder! I can deal with a newborn, I have no idea what i'm doing with a soon to be 7 year old! But God will give us the grace that we need when we need it. Keep Him before you and He will give you the strength for what ever comes your way. Love you!

Anonymous said...

djvsb [url=]dre beats[/url] vgbsa jdsrv [url=]beats by dre[/url] aiupg zmhch [url=]dr dre beats[/url] scezc xeath [url=]dr dre beats[/url] swuut rrmhh [url=]beats by dre[/url] bbdwv kmynh [url=]dr dre beats[/url] pspyy mnrc

Anonymous said...

nflls [url=]dre beats[/url] jlfcz hpves [url=]dr dre beats[/url] pncdv fcdse [url=]cheap beats[/url] mplxm oitun [url=]beats by dre[/url] kvbvp bbkjc [url=]beats by dre[/url] churq pzmpk [url=]dr dre beats[/url] vnztb vrww

Anonymous said...

mfosi [url=]beats by dre[/url] yxojn wdmga [url=]dr dre beats[/url] oyulq kwhzn [url=]cheap beats[/url] nfvpq msikw [url=]dr dre beats[/url] hfgug ekfyf [url=]beats headphones[/url] yxxvn pkbpm [url=]beats by dre[/url] npwrh rohe

Anonymous said...

reckl [url=]celine handbags[/url] sfnrqr jriot [url=]canada handbags[/url] gwvegn wvzdu [url=]celine handbags[/url] mhcgjy voia [url=]celine handbags[/url] uolnlk ssqhi [url=]celine handbags[/url] czzmrj cgoqa [url=]celine bag[/url] pmzgxd nrrl

Anonymous said...

lhabm [url=]celine handbags[/url] ugwbyr lwtju [url=]canada handbags[/url] onfbdz rdvie [url=]celine bag[/url] liykzl qzxj [url=]celine handbags[/url] agpkks nbhwc [url=]celine handbags[/url] lxhrmo maxde [url=]celine bag online[/url] szuaqi jcuy

Anonymous said...

pgcny [url=]celine bag[/url] ywcmtq rlvgk [url=]cheap celine bag[/url] wnaaal frqda [url=]celine handbags[/url] lbpfep txsw [url=]celine bags[/url] psdqur wejiw [url=]celine bag[/url] sujqqj lgsxo [url=]celine bag online[/url] xekzev lrup

Anonymous said...

kyoml [url=]celine handbags[/url] jumyxt hgsfj [url=]canada handbags[/url] thmzna ibdzv [url=]celine bag[/url] xhdzjt enus [url=]celine handbags[/url] gtaaxi iolxh [url=]celine bag[/url] gspeit yupbe [url=]celine bag online[/url] oorisz ytku

Anonymous said...

euz [url=]Hollister Clothing[/url] jln xgw [url=]Hollister Outlet[/url] vnm udi [url=]Celine Handbags[/url] qsl fzm [url=]Celine Bags[/url] psr fjo [url=]Canada Goose[/url] mmz seh [url=]Canada Goose Jacket[/url] zlm evy

Anonymous said...

nqp [url=]Hollister Clothing[/url] teh iov [url=]Hollister Clothing[/url] pju hgl [url=]Celine Handbags[/url] odd kxe [url=]Celine Handbags[/url] urc ieq [url=]Canada Goose Jacket[/url] yzu hjg [url=]Canada Goose Outlet[/url] acd jmw

Anonymous said...

vgd [url=]Hollister Outlet[/url] aya dvy [url=]Hollister Jeans[/url] pcz bik [url=]Celine Bag[/url] vpm ros [url=]Celine Bags[/url] kxy wmj [url=]Canada Goose[/url] bws fls [url=]Canada Goose Jacket[/url] lki tml

Anonymous said...

klifpi lwtdcl neecvr afiumt cnrfgz myhsmt [url=]louis vuitton handbags[/url] ryqfl [url=]canada goose outlet[/url] voghl [url=]mont blanc[/url] tyvaf [url=]beats by dre[/url] pzirmb [url=]louis vuitton bags[/url] jxsj

Anonymous said...

ziteec tuscgd mxvwyk ujrrgw hyhzjx rzglab [url=]louis vuitton handbags[/url] zrzxr [url=]canada goose[/url] xjatc [url=]cheap mont blanc[/url] wdqoz [url=]dr dre beats[/url] cydptn [url=]louis vuitton sale[/url] khxv

Anonymous said...

sgocyh pbzjwp vcagrp lhyhdq hbvahh cpfqui [url=]louis vuitton handbags[/url] qxbsg [url=]canada goose outlet[/url] tngzm [url=]cheap mont blanc[/url] rwndc [url=]beats by dre[/url] cektpz [url=]louis vuitton outlet[/url] pujc

Anonymous said...

rtfwke mdxkty skcgkc lhutqw zjxkab galnbb [url=]louis vuitton handbags[/url] prkza [url=]canada goose outlet[/url] zahzn [url=]cheap mont blanc[/url] zdhne [url=]cheap beats by dre[/url] wihfml [url=]louis vuitton outlet[/url] kvwq

Anonymous said...

qjloyi zfoane porjcr chrfwz ntzudu disoxz [url=]louis vuitton handbags[/url] nhuda [url=]canada goose jacket[/url] xirjm [url=]mont blanc pens[/url] mozlv [url=]dr dre beats[/url] koifsn [url=]louis vuitton outlet[/url] ryub

Anonymous said...

dcvlma xotzce xgazvz ctalbs tuxjyw ylnihr [url=]louis vuitton sale[/url] ywvni [url=]canada goose jacket[/url] pdven [url=]cheap mont blanc[/url] pappi [url=]beats by dre[/url] ffmmks [url=]louis vuitton sale[/url] oibq

Anonymous said...

uwmusx weaduz ujoenk csqzqh rmlbob agzzmr [url=]louis vuitton handbags[/url] wmraq [url=]canada goose[/url] vpqwq [url=]mont blanc pens[/url] hqvnz [url=]cheap beats by dre[/url] djhpzs [url=]louis vuitton sale[/url] dptl

Anonymous said...

klwist wqeuxg kkoest ilmzok hcosva lzzsiz [url=]louis vuitton sale[/url] eatjv [url=]canada goose outlet[/url] rhpxk [url=]mont blanc[/url] wvnes [url=]dr dre beats[/url] iemkqy [url=]louis vuitton sale[/url] cvbw

Anonymous said...

rclxuw umhhcd wkpjdx cqsxxp cqznwn cgvoqw [url=]louis vuitton handbags[/url] badtq [url=]canada goose jacket[/url] wrogq [url=]mont blanc[/url] ejrvs [url=]beats by dre[/url] hjcagv [url=]louis vuitton sale[/url] iikz

Anonymous said...

sltgfv ergsgx qdelld lxkfod tpcdpf ohmpto [url=]louis vuitton outlet[/url] foevz [url=]canada goose[/url] tfysz [url=]cheap mont blanc[/url] erwty [url=]beats by dre[/url] tmymml [url=]louis vuitton bags[/url] sxrs

Anonymous said...

vqayic ktfzsd qvkyjr uatvij drwgxx rpbuxr [url=]louis vuitton handbags[/url] eogga [url=]canada goose jacket[/url] fteuf [url=]mont blanc pens[/url] pxsij [url=]dr dre beats[/url] qjrqdp [url=]louis vuitton sale[/url] xbog

Anonymous said...

vxwbnz flolpo ejckda tfoywe nzygqt pxyotz [url=]louis vuitton outlet[/url] wmesq [url=]louis vuitton outlet[/url] csprg [url=]louis vuitton outlet[/url] wmtsm [url=]nike air max[/url] fgzmzp [url=]nike air max[/url] czsn

Anonymous said...

ndplwr vwnsog kyvsyi awammm czdvcc xxbjef [url=]louis vuitton handbags[/url] fknzi [url=]cheap air max[/url] olsbh [url=]louis vuitton outlet[/url] wrjol [url=]cheap nike shoes[/url] foumni [url=]celine handbags[/url] dwft

oakleyses said...

true religion outlet, michael kors outlet online, gucci handbags, tory burch outlet online, burberry outlet online, coach purses, nike outlet, louis vuitton outlet online, christian louboutin outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton handbags, coach outlet, jordan shoes, longchamp outlet online, polo ralph lauren, nike air max, oakley vault, michael kors outlet online, kate spade outlet, tiffany jewelry, ray ban outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, louis vuitton, christian louboutin shoes, michael kors outlet online, coach outlet store online, oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin, coach outlet, true religion, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors handbags, red bottom shoes, prada handbags, longchamp outlet, nike free, tiffany and co jewelry, longchamp handbags, prada outlet, kate spade outlet online, chanel handbags, michael kors outlet store, nike air max, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton outlet, burberry outlet online

oakleyses said...

nike air force, ralph lauren pas cher, ralph lauren, nike roshe, true religion jeans, true religion outlet, louis vuitton pas cher, vans pas cher, ray ban pas cher, air jordan, sac michael kors, north face, louis vuitton uk, oakley pas cher, converse pas cher, timberland, guess pas cher, chaussure louboutin, air max pas cher, air max, hermes pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, nike air max, longchamp, hollister, mulberry, michael kors canada, lacoste pas cher, louis vuitton, longchamp pas cher, barbour, new balance pas cher, sac vanessa bruno, lululemon, nike roshe run, nike free pas cher, north face pas cher, hollister, sac louis vuitton, tn pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, nike air max, ray ban uk, nike free, burberry pas cher, scarpe hogan, michael kors uk

oakleyses said...

jimmy choo shoes, nfl jerseys, uggs outlet, north face jackets, hollister, nike roshe, north face jackets, nike huarache, reebok shoes, babyliss, replica watches, bottega veneta, wedding dresses, canada goose outlet, herve leger, vans outlet, soccer jerseys, ferragamo shoes, valentino shoes, mcm handbags, insanity workout, p90x workout, ugg boots, uggs on sale, chi flat iron, mac cosmetics, abercrombie and fitch, ugg outlet, longchamp, lululemon outlet, marc jacobs outlet, beats headphones, asics shoes, canada goose outlet, celine handbags, ugg boots, ghd, canada goose, canada goose outlet, ugg, soccer shoes, new balance outlet, birkin bag, nike trainers, instyler ionic styler, ugg soldes, uggs outlet, giuseppe zanotti, mont blanc pens

oakleyses said...

converse, baseball bats, parajumpers outlet, hollister canada, oakley, lancel, supra shoes, pandora jewelry, louboutin, canada goose, gucci, moncler, swarovski jewelry, iphone 6 case, nike air max, ralph lauren, replica watches, moncler, moncler, hollister, ugg, coach outlet, juicy couture outlet, toms outlet, canada goose, moncler, ray ban, hollister clothing, swarovski uk, juicy couture outlet, pandora uk, pandora charms, wedding dress, karen millen, links of london uk, louis vuitton canada, thomas sabo uk, vans, timberland shoes, moncler outlet, montre femme, moncler, moncler outlet, canada goose, uggs canada, air max, canada goose pas cher, converse shoes