The Trying Twos

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The age of two. It is wildly fun. There is a blossoming personality, imaginative play, remarkable understanding, and conversations yielding connectedness. We're just three months into the year of "two," and I find myself wondering how much better it could possibly get and also how much more I can take. Because as much magic as there is in this stage, there is just as much sass and feisty boldness mingled into the mix. Navigating the two's is a unique challenge that is equal parts enjoyable and madness. Let me explain.

In any given day I am a part of vivacious toddlerhood moments that leave me laughing to my core or shaking my head in awe of the sheer brilliance coming from my tot. I love watching Greer develop her vocabulary, motor skills, dexterity, feelings, thoughts, quirks, and conceptualizations. I find myself trying to store away and remember as many of these fleeting moments as possible. Maybe it's because I'm her mama, but I always find myself in complete wonder of the person my child is and who she is becoming. Her little being brings me indescribable joy. 

But, motherhood isn't only about the bright and happy spots. There are tears, frustrations, and failures also present in any given day. Especially as my child blooms right before me, finding her independence, strengths, weaknesses, will power, and voice. There are days I am not sure how I made it through and am thanking my lucky stars that bedtime finally came (because hours earlier it felt like it was never going to show up). And in the same sigh of relief I breathe as I close her bedroom door for the night, I find myself missing that toddler that about did me in. It's an odd juxtaposition, but one I'm finding myself in more and more as we ease belly flop right into this season of life.

If there's one thing I've become certain of though, it's that the two's aren't terrible after all. They are just extremely trying. I liken it to being on a rollercoaster. There are amazing highs and deep lows. You can go from laughing with absolute delight to attempting to push away the panic when you're ready to get off the crazy ride. In 24 hours, I can go from immeasurable pride of the choices my girl is making to praying for the patience needed to not lose my mind on the umpteenth time that she decides to test all the boundaries. 

On days where I have been stretched to my max with intentional disobedience, fits of frustration, and a lack of listening, it's hard to stand consistent in the rules and expectations husband and I have set forth for our child. I'm more than ready to throw the towel in, pour another cup of iced coffee, and let the chaos continue on around me while acting oblivious. If she wants to be the boss so badly, then why not let her give it a try? But, I feel my responsibility as her mother is to steer her in the right direction, act as a guide when she needs it most, and show her that love wins out at the end of it all. Giving up isn't (and can't be) a part of this gig. And when I feel like I'm not breaking through to her, that I'm about to cry too, and another spank feels tedious, I find myself hugging her tight and silently praying that I can extend enough grace not only to her, but to myself. 

Taking just a moment to regroup and settle my feelings of inadequacy in that silence is sometimes all the two of us need to start fresh in an instant that felt like it was out of control. While permitting your emotions to sway so drastically is an adjustment, one I've not quite mastered, allowing yourself to gain a new perspective in the moment is always worth it. Because as sure as I've hit my limit, Greer is changing her direction and doing something so sweet and sincere that the steam coming from my ears disappears altogether.  It's those redeeming moments that add to the sweetness of motherhood. 

Two is rough, not just for us mamas but for our babes too. I can't imagine what all these littles of ours must be processing in any given minute. And more times than not, I forget to account for how she must be feeling when she blatantly chooses to go against me. Regardless if it's her testing the boundaries or because she doesn't quite understand, I won't excuse nor ignore the behavior, but correct it and try, try again. Showing her love while doing so. And I know that's not so easy when all you want to do is scream instead. And sometimes that scream wins out, but just like you can give your child a second chance to chose a different behavior/action/response, you get a second chance too.

In sharing these sentiments, I hope another mama out there is finding solidarity. You're not alone. On the days where it feels near impossible to keep going, forge ahead. Do your mama best even if you want to be the one kicking and dragging. Our best is not only what our little needs, it's what they deserve. Enjoy the heck out of this two-year-old stage. It's going to be gone before we know it, and one day I feel quite certain we're going to miss this season as rough as it can sometimes be. Find the joy and cherish it. Also find a good bottle of rosé to enjoy at the end of those not so good days. You've got this, mama! 
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