Savoring Every Moment…Even with an Eighteen Month Old

My sweet baby girl is becoming less baby and more girl every day. It is so fun to watch her grow, her personality shining through more and more as the months whiz pass.

The tantrums, though, are no fun. A little over a week ago the tantrums started and the “terrible twos” officially made their appearance. I was anticipating them so it was no surprise but still no fun. After a week of being completely frazzled and feeling sort of tantrumy (yep, just made that word up) myself, I decided to step back and get my bearings.

This is just part of the human growing up experience, part of the parenting experience. And I don’t want to spend the next 6 months or so wishing this time away. I want to savor it…every moment because this time of her life is only now, only once and I know I will miss it one day. I am choosing to dwell on what is lovely, what is commendable, etc.

And there is a whole lot of loveliness to take in. I just look at her and am overwhelmed by my love for her. She has the prettiest smile, the most smile-inducing laugh, the cutest little sense of humor, the sweetest spontaneous hugs, the best cuddles and the most energetic, enthusiastic personality. She is such a fun little person and is an absolute joy most of the time.

I also took some time to step back and evaluate how I was responding to her little fits. How am I modeling that when we get upset, we don’t lose it? Hmmm, that wasn’t fun to do but needful. I have to model the behavior I want her to emulate, especially when she’s so young. My words sometimes are lost on her, but I know my actions are not. She picks up on all sorts of things I do, like putting toys in their proper places, sorting and folding laundry, putting away dishes, etc. If she copies all that, I know she is watching my every move. I better respond properly when I am upset about something if I want her to. Anything less would be hypocritical really.

So I have decided to enjoy this stage, just like all the others, and not shrink back in dread and hopelessness when she is upset because I put her brown shoes on instead of her black.

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8 responses to “Savoring Every Moment…Even with an Eighteen Month Old

  • Rachael

    This age really is a big transition time in so many ways! I love when they start the verbal explosion and can do so many more things with you as a partner (like helping around the house and running errands). It’s so much fun.

    Do you feel like you have a full toolbox for toddler discipline? Like you wrote, it can be a challenging age. I find myself frustrated with Geneva for things that are my own issues of patience and I really need to work through that before she hits the contrary 3’s!

    • julamber

      I totally agree. It’s almost a new word (or two!) a day. And she is my little helper all around the house. I actually find errands more challenging since she isn’t content to just be in a carrier anymore, at least not for long periods of time.

      Toddler discipline…we have maybe a half full toolbox?? I’m always open to suggestions. :) I know you have already been through this stage once so I’m sure you have lots of practical advice. I have used successfully some of Harvey Karp’s ideas and Dr. Sears. I was thinking of the way Jesus was with his disciples and how he had some of his own tantrum throwers, the sons of thunder. I definitely could call Marcella my daughter of thunder so I want to really delve into Scripture and see how Jesus responded to them.

      • Rachael

        Like you said, I think that how Jesus was with his disciples is a great model to work from in raising kids. Sally Clarkson’s stuff is so great for reorienting my framework toward discipling vs. control in parenting (especially important with ‘daughters of thunder’! Geneva is so very much that way).

        I also believe that whatever discipline I use with my children also needs to build my own Christian character and not detract from it. If what I am doing feeds unhealthy things like anger/control/perfectionism then it is wrong for me to use it no matter what anyone else says – at that point it’s a matter of conscience before the Holy Spirit. I want my behavior and heart attitudes to exemplify the Fruit of the Spirit, most especially in parenting, because I want my children to grow up with those fruits demonstrated in our home, especially when my buttons are pushed and I’m frustrated, yk?

        One tool to consider adding is something called Playful Parenting – it’s a book (that is too long/wordy but the concept is awesome) by Cohen and Geneva (and David) do well with it. It helps me a lot when I get stuck in a mindset of just wanting her to calm down and not be so active – instead of working with the natural temperament that God gave her. It also helps me change the tone of discipline situations which avoids a lot of needless power struggles and saves them for when it really matters. Having a few playful tools in my discipline toolbox helps her transition away from whatever it is she can’t do and wants to – so when I set a boundary and then playful parent her it works much better than if I just set a boundary and don’t help her move on.

        Have you ever read through the Gentle Discipline forum on GCM? http://www.gentlechristianmothers.com/community/forumdisplay.php?f=420 I’ve found it really helpful for myself – I didn’t agree with everything or every post, but read a few threads each day (and the stickies/book recommendations). There are years of posts to wade through! What that helped me with most was get a glimpse of what other parents were going through, as well as figure out what stage was coming next. If I hadn’t been prepared by other parents for the 3 year old year I would have totally lost it with David and parented out of frustration instead of being thoughtful and proactive – and it was GCM that helped give me the tools to handle that year (and he did grow out of the things that drove me nuts too). Otherwise you hit that age and feel like you have no tools to handle it and it can be difficult.

        Anyway, those are some thoughts I had. I think tailoring discipline to your specific child is important and it’s definitely a journey that changes with each age and stage.

      • julamber

        Thank for the reminder about Playful Parenting. Someone had told me about that awhile back and I had forgotten all about it. I do some of it already just naturally but not intentionally. It is definitely a great tool to have in the tool box. I have been on GCM but not specifically that area of the site. Thanks for the link.

  • Heather

    I love this post!! It’s so true…they watch our every move. I try to remember that…and I know Jake is just like me so I should know what to expect…and I have my work cut out for me. :) Thanks for the reminder to enjoy it and watch myself closely!

  • Etiquette From the Trenches

    What a wonderful post! I couldn’t agree more that the 2-3 year old years need to be cherished. My little tantrum-throwing Molly is also a singer, dancer, artist, and frequent kisser. Wouldn’t trade any of that!

    Amy

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