Oh parenting a toddler. It is so much different than parenting a newborn. Those first few months of having a new baby were hard, but they have nothing on the past few months.
Let me start off with a disclaimer. I'm not sure why I always feel like I need to preface my parenting posts, but I guess I'm worried about judgement. Even though, quite frankly I don't care what others think of my parenting and there will always be those "holier than thou" moms that will just shake their head and say "I would never do/think that." And those people are hidden from my newsfeed and blocked out of my mind, so I think we're good, but I still feel like I need a disclaimer. :)
I never want anyone to think that I don't love being a momma. I love Kason with all of my heart and absolutely love being his momma. There is no other job I'd rather be doing than staying home with him and spending my days pouring my energy into him. There are so many people that long to be parents and I never want to appear to be complaining about my role.
Moving on... :)
The age Kason at is so much fun. I love that he repeats everything he hears and learns so many new things everyday. I love that he is learning his shapes and colors. I love that he is starting to count, even if he just counts "two, four, six" right now. :) His little mind is like a sponge, and I can't put enough into him. Love my little learner! However, I would be lying if I said that this age is all fun and games. Because It's not.
And I am struggling.
Along with all of the learning he is doing, he is also learning something else. Independence. He wants to do what he wants when he wants, and that's the end of it. If I don't take his socks off the second we walk in the door, meltdown. If he doesn't get to have a snack 5 minutes before dinner, meltdown. If I look at him when he rather I didn't, meltdown. Needless to say, we have lots of meltdowns throughout our day.
As much as I would love to just cater to his every need and tell him yes all the time, it's just not realistic. That's not good parenting in my book. He needs to hear the word "no" and understand that sometimes, mommy and daddy just know best and they always have his best interest at heart. The hard part is explaining that to a two year old. It's hard to reason with a two year old. It's kind of like reasoning with Kaia. So, when he wants something that is just not happening, it starts. The whining.
Oh. My. Goodness. THE WHINING.
It is like nails on a chalkboard to me. Forget the tantrums, they aren't fun but I can handle those. The whining every time something doesn't go his way? Can't handle it. I get so frustrated so many times throughout the day. I have to take a step back and remind myself that he is learning as he is whining. I need to use those moments as teachable moments. I don't know how many times a day I say "Kason, please don't whine and use your words to tell momma what is bothering you." I usually start off saying this rather calmly and lovingly in the morning, but by the time evening rolls around it sounds more like "STOP WHINING!" I need to get better about that.
I'm slowly learning what it means to parent through the "terrible twos". Here are a few things I've learned through all of the whining:
-- Sometimes the whining is only because he doesn't know how to express his feelings. When I get frustrated, I can express it with words and other emotions. When Kason gets frustrated, he doesn't know what else to do but whine. Does this make it ok? Absolutely not. There are enough whiny adults in the world, my child doesn't need to grow up to be one. However, it makes it a little more bearable when I want to pull my hair out.
-- Teaching patience through whining is SO important. I've noticed a quality in Kason that was given to him by yours truly. If he's putting legos together and they don't fit, he freaks out and starts whining. If he is working a puzzle and can't get the piece to fit, he starts to whine. Guess who else gets upset when she can't get something the first time? This girl. So, I've learned to talk to Kason about this when he struggles to get something the first time. I usually stop him and tell him something like "Buddy, it's ok if your can't get it right away, you can keep trying instead of whining. And if you can't get it please ask for help instead of whining." Does this always work? HA! Absolutely not. A lot of the time he throws the toy in frustration. But there's always that one time that it sinks in. He keeps trying and eventually gets it and yells "GOT IT! HIGH FIVE!" and wants my praise. And boy, do I give it to him! :)
-- Slow down and explain things to Kason. Like I said, it's hard to reason with a two year old, but Kason surprises me with how much he understands. At times, I have to tell him "no" and don't give an explanation because I'm in a hurry. If I just slow down and explain to him why I'm saying "no", a lot of times it eliminates some of the whining. At the same time, I try to say "yes" a lot too. It's kind of like choosing your battles. :) If I want him to eat a banana for a snack and he wants Goldfish instead, that's ok. I can compromise. I can't tell him "yes" all the time, because that's not the way the world works. But I can do my best to say "yes" even when it's not the most convenient.
-- Most important lesson, is that Kason needs to know I love him in spite of his whining. I try really hard to keep my cool, because I want Kason to know that I love him no matter what. I don't care if he whines the entire day, I love him just as much. Such a good way to teach God's love to my boy. I'm sure Jesus hears my "whining" daily, and he still loves me just as much in spite of all of my complaining. Kason needs to know that I feel the same about him.
I love learning how to better parent Kason. It's the hardest job I've ever done, but I'm thankful that I get to learn as I go, and that ultimately I am becoming a better momma for Kason and his baby sister. :)
Thanks for letting me get all of my thoughts out.
And PS - All of you "just wait..." people, I know the threes are worse. No need to tell me. I deal with this parenting thing a day at a time. :)