I Saw HER and Cried Real Tears

Three little kids, running around in circles caught her attention. I stood back as she walked timidly forward. I could see her hesitation, and for a few moments I wondered if she would just watch from a distance. I commented to a group a friends that we were standing with, and one of them said “They are the plastics of the toddlers.” I laughed, but also felt the weight of the moment. The weight of what would happen if Kinsey didn’t feel welcome. I thought of my oldest memory I had of being a kid, standing on the perimeter, watching something just like this, hoping that someone would ask me to join in. My daughter was experiencing the toddler version of my kindergarten moment. My sweet girl inched forward slowly, and with every small step, she looked back at me for reassurance. Suddenly, just as I thought about telling her to go play with them, she threw herself into the moment, forgetting her fear and she ran with them. She ran in circles, and when they fell, she fell. She looked to them for cues on when to laugh, and when to chase each other again. Tears welled up in my eyes. I was never as fearless as her. I remember standing on the pavement, just outside of where the playground gravel started, with the full intention of being alone. A little girl ran up to me after awhile and asked me if I wanted to play. She said “do you want to play?” I said “that’s ok.” She ran back over to her friends at the jungle gym, and the moment she ran away I regretted it. Maybe I wanted her to beg me? Maybe I wanted to feel wanted? I think I expected her to say “Come on! Just do it!” But, she didn’t. I stood there feeling the blood rush into my face, wondering how I would get out of this situation. I wanted to go play, but was too embarrassed now that I had said no. After a lot of self-talk, I just ran over and jumped in and pretended like nothing had happened. I can only hope that my daughter holds onto her confidence. That she will always throw herself into these kind of moments, and leave her fear at the sidelines.

I will experience a thousand more moments like this one. I’ll watch my little girl break free from her dependence and make friends. Along the way there will undoubtably be heartache, and tears. And, I’ll probably often see my childhood relived through hers. It is going to take an intentional effort on my part to stop myself from seeing me, and see her. She is like me in ways, but her own person. She has her own spirit and her way of doing things, and I get to learn to accept those and see the very heart by which she lives.

I will let her make her own mistakes. I will let her be the master of her own destiny. I will counsel and love her in the way that a parent is supposed to, but she will make her own way.

I will be a witness to all of it, and just like several other moments that I’ve experienced as a mother, I watched this one happen and couldn’t help but think about how lucky I am.

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Mama Bear

I think my angel baby might perceive me as weak.

Example:
“Na-no. Kinsey. No. Do not drop that remote into the toilet.”

She starts to smile, with her hand dangling the remote over the open toilet water.

I slowly take a step forward. Stern look on my face. I repeat myself, “No. Na-no. Hand me the remote. Give it to me.”

And then? She drops it and yells “Ooo!” Which is her version of “uh-oh.” I’m pretty sure “uh-oh” doesn’t apply if you do something intentionally. Now, it was not a remote that I needed, but, the fact that I had to fish it out of the toilet is what really bothered me. I got right in her face and explained that she did not listen to me, and therefore would have to go be in her room by herself. She of course cried, and flapped her limbs around on the floor. But, what concerns me is that she laughed when I told her not to do it in the first place. She spent about 3 minutes in her room. Long enough to scream and then quiet down. I went back in and said “Kinsey. When I ask you not to do something, you need to listen to me. I love you.” Kisses and then she goes running off to play with her bath toys in the dog water bowl.

I’ve come to the conclusion that we are no longer messing around. We are officially in the thick of toddler troubles, and I’ve been in denial for too long. I’m trying really hard to work out some effective discipline, and even more so, my consistency.

Everyday, my little cherub is testing my limits. “How far can I push her? Wonder if I can get away with this…?”

She is adorable, but equal parts monster. Typical toddler? Probably. I assume this is all normal, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

I started reading “Parenting with Love and Logic.” If nothing else, it’s encouraged me to process the events of the day and evaluate the areas that I can improve. It talks a lot about giving your child choices and encouraging them to take ownership of those choices. I’m trying to apply this to how I deal with the toddler antics. I say, “Kinsey, you can either calm down and play out here with me, or, you can go be upset in your room by yourself.” I feel silly, but, after a few days of saying these same words, Kinsey is very aware of what the 2nd option entails.

I am feeling a lot of pressure to raise a responsible and capable human being.

I’m also feeling overwhelmed with my inexperience in toddler discipline.

I suppose, I have to learn somehow. I just feel sorry that Kinsey has to be the trial run. Here’s to hoping I don’t screw her up too much (and she doesn’t learn how to flush the toilet anytime soon).

Do you have any other parenting books to suggest? I’m all ears.

Stuff I Am Loving: For the Kids

Toddler-dom is a pretty rad time for fun toys and activities. Kinsey’s “baby” stage was all about stuffed animals and hours of staring at multi-colored ring o’ links, but NOW? Now, we can play with princess castles, and go ‘swimming’ in kiddie pools, and there is just so much fun to be had.

Stuff I Am Loving

1. Kiwi Crate

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A subscription based kids crafts & activity box sent to your house each month. They offer a 12-month membership for about $17/month, or you can do smaller month subscriptions ranging from $18-$20 depending on your monthly commitment. They also offer single crates that have everything from a Super Hero Craft (complete with mask and cape) to a Make-Your-Own Music box. A really fun way to bring some excitement into your home, and add some variety to your usual routine.

2. Alphabet Zoo Blocks

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I took Kinsey to the zoo last week for the first time, and it seems that zoo animals have really come to life for her after our trip. We have a set of Uncle Goose blocks that I love & have animals on them, but I’m also really loving these from Skip Hop. Kinsey is finally at an age where we can interact/build/talk about animals, and it is so fun!

3. DrawQuest App for the iPad

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I’ve pinned a few “Top iPad” apps for kids, but found that many of them were sorta flat or just not enticing enough for Kinsey’s brilliant little mind {humble brag}. DrawQuest is an app that gives a new “quest” everyday, and while some of them are still sort of challenging for Kinsey’s current age group, it’s definitely a fun alternative to some of the mindless kid’s apps that can be found on the app store. Right now, its an activity that we can do together, and create a learning experience around (Is that a bird? What sound does a bird make? Where does the bird live? etc) Best part? It’s free.

4. Spark Box

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I know, I know…subscription services are such a commitment, but the developments that happen from month-to-month are HUGE, and age appropriate toys can be a tasking shopping process. Spark Box offers educational toys that are hand-picked for your child by age/stage. You can choose how often you want new toys (every 4, 6, or 8 weeks) and price ranges from $23-35. Pretty rad.

5. Honest Company

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This has absolutely nothing to do with toys, but Honest is now making vitamins! Definitely worth mentioning, because just like food, I get a little bit weird about over the counter vitamins and supplements. Their vitamins contain real food, and bring you the extra nutrients you need, but in a form that your body actually recognizes (free of chemicals and other weirdo preservatives). Right now, they have prenatal, DHA/Omega 3 supplements, Baby and Toddler Multi-Vitamin powder, and soon will be releasing a Kid’s Multivitamin.

Found something lovely that I should know about? Tell me!