This was one of those weeks where I really had to remind myself to unconditionally love the annoying little person who won’t give me a moments rest or do anything without being within eyesight of me (preferably arms reach, of course). More and more I find myself losing my temper at Associate P, a three year old who is proving to be more needy, clingy and whiney than the 18month old Associate A. I don’t know if it is because I now expect more of him – I see other kids his age sufficiently coping with moments of separation from their mothers and even interacting with other children – or because I am just over his clingy MO.
I joked this week that he is abusing the word mommy to the point I am tuning him out. For all I know the middle of his whiney rant is a groundbreaking theory of astrophysics, but I wouldn’t hear it because when he starts the sentence with half a dozen “Mommys” I stop listening.
So just when I thought I had enough this week, my sister very randomly texted me this picture.
The picture had spoken to her because her kids are tweeny-age boys now and driving her crazy in ways I can’t yet imagine. She is still sacrificing a great deal for them on a daily basis. Putting her needs aside to cater to theirs. Exhausting herself caring for them, only to have her guidance balked at and her emotional efforts shunned. She was in a “Just leave me ALONE!” mood. She saw this picture and thought longingly of me, lucky to be home with two sweet little toddlers who still adore me and think I’m the best person in the whole world.
It was a gut check for sure.
I was in a “Just leave me ALONE!” mood too, and had been all week. In fact, I realized I had been down right mean to Associate P lately, shunning his affections in effort to reclaim moments to myself. …. to do what? Clean? check emails? Look at the child, sublimely happy to be in a special moment with his mommy. That is all P wants. And I’ve been too annoyed to give them to him.
After lunch I put Associate A down for a nap and Associate P and I get some 1:1 time before his quiet time. All he wants to to is play Garbage Dump for the millionth time, and lately I just don’t want to. I’ve tried diverting to puzzles or playing all those educational activities we just can’t do when the little one is up, but P is tired and not at all in the mood for thinking. He wants to mindlessly make truck noises and dump and pick up little pieces of paper, over and over and over. And he wants me to be the front loader moving it around the dump. Exasperated by even the thought of this monotonous drill, I barked at him “Mommy has better things to do than play garbage dump. You can do that by yourself.” And moms everywhere know the response he gave me… “But Mommy I want to play with YOU.” But in the mental state I was in, that response just annoyed me further.
My sister’s innocent text reminded me that I should be treasuring these precious 1:1 times with him, because they are fleeting. Reminded me that it doesn’t matter what we do, as long as we are together it IS special to him.
Then yesterday I read this post “8 Awesome Things About Toddlers.” As I read, I realized perhaps my growing annoyances were because Associate P is moving out of this sweet toddler stage. He’s no longer napping, nor does he find joy in every little thing. I can no longer plan a day that I think will be fun and count on him being excited about it too. More and more he has his own opinions and ideas, and we end up butting heads when he refuses to go along with MY plans. And while I appreciate where the writer is coming from on her first bullet, The Adorable Way They Butcher The English Language, his speech development is a constant stressor for me these days. Sure, he talks all the time. But most people still can’t make out what he is saying because he doesn’t yet articulate most consonant sounds. I’m trying everything from more reading and over pronounced speech to watching edu-movies about letter sounds. … but I digress.
Perhaps most heartbreaking, was I realized he isn’t “Perfectly Cuddly” anymore. He is so big when he sits in my lap to read, I often can’t see the book. And if he squirms around on my lap when reading or putting shoes on, we can both get hurt if he throws his head back, straight into my face.
He is growing up. My sweet little baby boy is growing up. And I need to grow up too. The game has changed and he is no longer My Little Minion, gleefully doing as I say. Perhaps Associate is a more appropriate term now than it previously has been –
- a partner or colleague in business or at work.
He is my Associate and our professional relationship can only succeed if I give him the respect I demand of him. So as the need for discipline and instruction increases, so does the need for me to listen to him and respond to him.
I am already sad at the realization my little man is growing up. It does happen way too fast. But I know we have many more fun days together ahead of us, and hopefully I can be better about enjoying each and every stage as much as I loved the precious toddler days. So I’ve spent the last three days listening for his “Mommy come play with me” requests and trying to be ready for the call, even if it is another round of Garbage Dump.