No matter how spirited he is, no matter how difficult he can be, no matter how many tantrums he can throw, nothing will ever take away from the amount that I love him and the joy he has brought to my life. That said, there are moments, days in a row even, that I don't like him very much.
Parenting a spirited toddler is extraordinarily challenging in its mundaneness and its lack of the same. It is exhausting and frustrating and thankless and sometimes demeaning. As with every stage of parenthood, when you are in the middle of it, it is hard to see the end - especially when people tend to either think you must be exaggerating or that you really have no idea how bad it will get at whatever stage is next.
We've been in this rut for a long time and I would by lying if I didn't say that sometimes I have felt like I was lying in a hole just waiting for the earth to envelop me. Getting through just the three days I have him on my own has become a skin-crawling endeavor that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. At the lowest point of my low during this phase, I realized that I needed to get away. Even if I could just dream of getting away, by myself, I could potentially have hope. I needed hope.
Finally, after waiting for so long to experience something, anything, that could give me hope, hope arrived in the form of two little eyes looking into mine, while two little ears heard what I said and one little head gave me a little nod.
It was a week ago and Little G was on the changing table. He had pooped and it was super messy and he wanted nothing to do with being on the changing table and was wriggling all over the place so I handed him my iPhone and asked if he wanted to play Peekaboo Barn; his favorite game ever - usually reserved for Dr. appointments and long flights across the country. He was so excited to play Peekaboo that I knew it was going to be a huge battle to get the iPhone back and we were supposed to leave to go to the Treehouse; a play space at our gym that he loves and where he can really get out his energy.
I finished dressing him and put him on the floor and asked for the iPhone back before we could leave the room and the tantrum started immediately. And just like every tantrum he throws, I got on his level and calmly repeated over and over and again the following:
Little G is upset
Little G wants Peekaboo
But Little G is going to the tree house
Peekaboo can not go to the tree house
Peekaboo stays here
I must have repeated myself at least ten times while he screamed. And then a small miracle happened. He stopped. He looked at the iPhone, he looked at me and nodded his little head and said, 'ok', and handed me the iPhone.
People, if you aren't a parent or if you haven't gotten to the end of your rope in the toddler stage, than I am not sure you can understand the amount of peace this small kernel of hope has granted me. I don't feel like I am in a hole anymore. I mean, let's be realistic, sometimes I do...but now I have hope.
And that hope is growing. Little G has had at least two other incidents this week, including this evening, where mommy was able to talk him off the ledge.
I am good mom. In fact, I am a really good mom. I may have spent a large part of the last six months in a hole, but I never stopped loving my son. And even if I never received this kernel of hope, I never would have stopped loving him. But today, I am lifting up my voice in praise and thanksgiving for hope. It is amazing how far out of the hole it can lift you.