test the fence

May 2, 2011

Last week I could have written you a book on the loveliness of our current toddler stage. The talking! The exploring! The cute antics! Darling! Delightful! How is it that they can go from adorable to horrible so quickly? HOW?!

Oh the fickle moods of toddler.

We had a weekend full of screaming and epic tantrums. Nothing to be worried about, just normal stuff for the Jude's age, but man... it bummed me out. Way the fuck out. Rarely have I needed a mom-time-out but I took one this weekend. Jon took the little dude (and Bang) for a walk around the block so I could sit in the quiet and regroup for 20 minutes. Sometimes you have days where you think having a kid is awesome! and other times... not. This was the latter.

I'm hoping some new learning leap (or teeth) will be at the end of this trail of tears so at least we'll get a good payoff out of it. There's a lot of testing going on. He's testing boundaries, making sure we as parents follow through on the things that we ask him to do. Action/reaction- what happens when I do this? How 'bout now? How 'bout now? When you look at it logically (like that) the reason behind all this anarchy is fairly straightforward. Nothing to be upset about, it's just how little people learn. The raptors test the fence for weak spots– that's how it works. But in the heat of the moment it is so frustrating, the lose your temper yelling kind of frustrating, and I try not to go to that place very often.

So I practice my patience and do the best I can. I try to be thoughtful in the way that I parent but when the game changes so suddenly, as it has this last week, it's not until after the fact that I get to sit down and think about what happened, about what it might mean and how I can do better.

Oh the fickle moods of toddler.

But we've also had fickle WANTS of toddler, which has considerably increased my irritability. Though he went for five days last week without noticing or asking to nurse this weekend he asked several times. Sometimes he was able to be distracted (thank you, Waffle House) but other times he was determined with tears and all and yes, he got his way.

I'm of two minds about it really. On the one hand I'd like to be done. I felt as if we had come to a mutual conclusion, I wrote about it and had it set in my mind. On the other hand really, what's the difference if he does it five more times? Ten more? Is my own arbitrary determination that we're "done" more important than his desire for comfort, especially since he seems to be in another transition period? Seems kind of cruel. Or maybe not cruel enough.

So we've nursed a handful of times since then, morning and evening. I feel badly about pressing him to stop; I feel badly about not pressing him further. It's stupid, basically, and I don't feel good about it. Along with that I feel that when I do go with the flow and let him nurse if he asks that I'm "giving in." Especially from Jon's perspective, whom I had told we were going to be "done," it's hard to explain why I so easily go back on the deal. {And that's all my perception of it in my head, Jon certainly hasn't said anything like that. I just... feel bad. Like I'm letting him down somehow.}

Whatever. The whole thing has turned out to be more complicated that I had initially expected and it's an emotional minefield.

One fickle, fickle toddler hour at a time, right? Grow that brain, kid.
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