Were you the perfect mom for a newborn? Are you finding yourself with a knack for the testing toddlers? Maybe your crafty and playful side is a grand match with preschoolers versus your awkward days with infants. Who knows, you may be the meticulous, superstar soccer mom balancing school schedules, practices, recitals, dinner and bedtime. Or maybe you remember your wild teenage days which will keep you one step ahead of your raging teen.
Today, with my 3 1/2-year-old pushing the envelope at every waking moment, I’m starting to think this isn’t my best inning in this game of parenthood. If this were Survivor ,
I’m pretty sure he’s on the verge of outwitting, outplaying and outlasting me…even making a fool of me twice as I chased this naked little boy down in our neighborhood – and that was just today!
It wasn’t long ago, though, I felt like a pro. Or maybe in hindsight I feel that way, though I probably didn’t at the time.
Keeping steady, I’d study my hand and play the right cards. I read all the books on raising happy babies and toddlers and kids. I could redirect rather than raise my voice. And he listened, brilliantly.
And then he turned two. He started testing me, but was a child of respect and “no” meant no and “don’t” meant don’t. Sure, he’d try all the crazy things boys like to do. He’d climb too high at the playground. He’d make me crazy trying to get him strapped in his car seat. He couldn’t resist grabbing anything in his reach.
And now…he’s 3.
And he’s calling my bluff.
The book 1-2-3 Magic used to work like a charm for me. Now he counts to three for me. When we get to three, he laughs. I take him to his room for time out and he repeatedly opens his door – taunting me to give in or give up. When I say “stay here” -he goes there. When I say “stop” -he runs.
The wildest part of this ride is that when he’s not testing me, he’s an angel. The most polite, sweet little boy I’ve ever met. He thanks me for taking him to the park. He gives me many hugs throughout the day expressing “Mom, I just love you sooo much, I’m going to give you a great big hug now!” And he does. And its wonderful. He likes to snuggle and he loves to read with me. But lest I leave just a moment of time for him to get bored or distracted…game on!
I’ve started reading more books on discipline and am trying to dedicate my every day to being consistent with my discipline and establishing a routine. I know our big move has heightened sensitivities in our home and we’ve all been adapting. This may not be my strongest season of motherhood, but I know overall I’m a great mom and there will always be moments like these test our whole soul. And drive us just a little bit mad. So whether you’re in your strongest quarter of your game or struggling to get through to the next period, remember that beyond everything you are a fantastic mom…otherwise you wouldn’t care enough to worry about it! At least that’s my mom told me! 😉