It’s like I’m a total novice. I feel like a rookie to parenting. You’d think after having two kids ‘under my belt’ (so to speak) – or at least having gone through this phase twice already – I’d feel like I know what I’m doing. I don’t.
Kayliana is like a whole other level. Sure, she’s our most challenging, but I do have some excuses on why I extra-suck at parenting massive tantrum-throwing toddlers.
1.) Matthew is our oldest, but was also our ‘easiest’ and most mellow. He’s challenging in his tendency to be extra emotional and sensitive though. And yes, he threw tantrums but nothing like Kayli.
Matthew was our first born which means it was a long time ago that he was a toddler. He’s also our first born so we had no idea what we were doing. I once heard it described as “the first born, is like the first pancake in a batch, you figure it’ll turn out ‘OK’ but maybe not as good as the others. It’s the practice pancake.” Sorry, kid, but we just tried our best. Also, Matthew was in his toddler years when I was in the fog of postpartum depression. After my seven week-stint on hospital bed rest I, sadly, don’t remember much of anything about the next couple of years. It’s devastating to me that I don’t have clear memories of Zachary as a baby. It hurts my heart so much. I’m sure I was also a hot mess in attempting to parent a toddler while dealing with all this and an infant. So, that’s mom sucks reason #1.
Matthew -- a pretty chill little guy. He would sit for hours playing with his John Deeres, cars and trucks.
Don't let their cuteness fool you!
2.) Zachary, our number two. Oh dear. Oh NUMBER TWO. (Which is how we felt while adjusting to life with two). Early on, we thought Zach would be our athlete. He was our energetic, ‘highly spirited’ child. Even as a newborn 5 pound peanut, he had a mischievous twinkle in his eye. He still is quite strong willed and occasionally throws an 8 year old’s tantrum that makes toddler tantrums look like child’s play. He was the kid found dancing a jig on the dining room table and dumping my mug of coffee on my laptop. He was the one who got his head stuck in the stair banister.
I’ll admit that as our 2nd born and middle child, Zachary’s definitely had to deal with the stigma of the sandwiched kid. Much of his toddlerhood was spent with us very actively involved in two major endeavors (and not at all focused on his needs): we were planning and putting on a National Convention for Engaged Encounter and we were going through the process to adopt kid #3. He got the shaft. Mom sucks reason #2 for ya.
Never a dull moment with Zach!
3.) Ahh, here we are. We’re in it. Ms. Kayliana. I’m sure a little bit of the issue is hearing (while raising two boys), “Oh, girls are SO much easier than boys when they’re little. They’re less energetic and more reserved. Girls get harder during the teenage years, of course, but they’re way easier when they’re young. They sit quietly and play for a long time. They help clean up, etc.” Hooey Hooey Hooey. Lies. Also, being told, “Girls are SO much easier to potty train,” didn’t help expectations. Again with the lies. I understand that these are massive generalizations, but when you hear it enough, it’s hard not to anticipate their truth…at least a little. On top of being our most difficult to potty train, Kayli has also been our worst sleeper by a LONG shot. She stopped napping way earlier than the boys – she was pretty much done by the age of two. This makes dealing with her toddleriness even harder because we’re STILL sleep-deprived…and she’s THREE AND A HALF. I was up with her at 3 o’clock this morning because she had a nightmare, had to go potty (because she refused to go before bed and threw a massive fit about it) and then proceeded to throw a freakin-middle-of-the-night twenty minute tantrum because she didn’t want to go back to sleep in her own bed.
Kayli’s toddlerhood has been marked by two massive life events: we moved right before she turned two and my dad died 11 days after she turned three. I know it’s understandable that the chaos and stress of these events impacts children. But when she’s having crazy-insane mega tantrums, peeing on the floor and I’m in tears attempting to deal with it and with life, in general, I can’t help but think “this is my entirely fault” and can’t I just get a break?! I mean, I know it’s not…completely my doing. But it’s what life’s brought us. It’s the life that she’s known and so far, for her, it mostly consists of lameness. I also think I’ve added to her temperament by ‘giving in’ more. Letting her watch more TV (thus she’s adding more energy reserves to her tantrum-throwing process). I’m just trying to ‘make life easier’ for myself, which is typically doing the opposite of what’s best for her.
Also, let’s keep in mind, that she is, by far, our most active. She’s our athlete. She’s our two-days-in-a-row-of-stitches-on-the-face; she’s the trip-to-the-ER-on-our-anniversary; she’s our sweet little waking-up-with-a-broken-arm-three-days-after-dad-dies kiddo. She’s clumsy but in nonstop movement. So often I say, “Fine if you want to be an adrenal junky and crazy-active, but don’t be all breaky and bad at it!” Be one or the other: active and awesome or clumsy and cautious. Kayli is my puppy. She’s the one that if I don’t get her out for her daily exercise, I shouldn’t expect her to be house-broken! And, let’s face it, most of the time; I’ve done a piss-poor job of ‘doing’ stuff with her because of how life’s been. Excuses and the reason why mom sucks with #3.
We should've known that, walking at 10 months, meant non-stop movin' for this little lady.
ER trip on our Anniversary: Dislocated elbow (re-dislocated two days later).
After two days of stitches. And she's still smiling.
Notice Kayli's 'bulky' left arm -- cast for 3 weeks for 'mysterious' broken(?!) arm
Good thing we’re done having kids. I’ve already done enough not-awesome to 3 people! At least CPS hasn't stopped in and no one's been in Juvie...yet.