Let me give you a little idea about what it’s like to be me these days. Close your eyes. Imagine that your mind is blank. Listen.
Boom, boom, boom. “Mehhhhhhhhh.” Boom, boom, boom.
Insert glassy-eyed, white-faced crawling baby coming toward you.
“Mehhhhhhhhh.” Boom. Boom. Boom. ”Mehhhhhhhh.”
Meanwhile, “Mommy, I neeeeeeeeed you!” Two year-old calling from next room.
Wait, something’s on my leg. Tug, tug. ”Mehhhhhhhhhhh.” ”Mommeeeeee!”
My two girls are so sweet and wonderful, but they need me all the time! If Abby is the least bit irritable, she needs me to hold her constantly. I’ve been trying to put her down so that she can learn some independence and self-soothing skills, but putting her down turns her into zombie baby! Mehhhhhhhhh. Every time I need to spend a few minutes holding Sophia, “Mehhhhhhhhhh.” Boom, boom, boom. Here she comes, and suddenly they’re both in my lap pushing at each other for one to get off. What the what?! Oh…
Labor was hard, right? The newborn days were exhausting. But, parenting two at these ages is stretching in ways I’ve never known. I have to be ON. I have to constantly choose that I’m going to act out of love, act out of patience, act out of a gentle and quiet spirit. And, let me tell you! IT IS A CHOICE! IT DOES NOT COME NATURAL TO ME!! I realized something with Sophia today. We’ve been having some yelling matches. She’s been yelling “no” and “I don’t want to” and any other manner of things. It takes everything I have not to yell back at her, “YOU DO NOT YELL AT ME!!!!!” Breathe. Today, after she yelled at me, yelled no at me, hit me (well, she swung and missed), and did not come when I asked her to… I disciplined with a series of 5 spankings offering a choice between each one… and finally calmly took her to time-out. All the while she is yelling things at me. Minutes later after I explained what she did wrong, told her I loved her and told her that I would like her to apologize, she said, “I’m sorry, Mommy.” Ah, success. I noticed that as long as I was visibly angry, she shut down unable to function. This is a pattern that I have noticed over the last few weeks that I’m lovingly labeling “the terrible twos.” Yes, they are real, and yes we are there.
It’s trying. It brings up lots of questions about what kind of mother am I being, what kind of conscience am I fostering in Sophia, how does she see me, am I causing her to feel too much shame… Shame is the biggest one. It’s so hard not to purposefully shame her. What amount is okay? What amount is necessary to teach her right and wrong? How much is too much where she might always worry that she’ll make Mommy upset?
This season is stretching. It takes so much patience. It takes so much thoughtfulness. It takes so much self control. It takes so much love. I always tell Will, “Good thing God gave us such beautiful girls!” ;)
In other less serious news, we’ve been busy lately. Here’s some pictures of the girls.