A real conversation in our car the other day.
(Sidenote: My mother-in-law is overly generous and is always bringing toys, clothes, shoes, gifts, treats, etc for our kids when she visits.)
Brooks: When is Grammy coming down to visit us? I want her to bring us some presents.
Me: Brooks, that isn’t a good attitude. I don’t want you to expect gifts every time Grammy comes down to visit. You should want to spend time with her, not ask her to buy you stuff. I’m going to tell her not to bring any gifts next time she comes down to visit.
Brooks: I don’t know what’s wrong with her. I keep telling her to buy adult stuff, but she keeps buying kid stuff when she comes down her.
We’re at the age that we are really working hard to be consistent in what we tell and show Landon to help him determine acceptable behaviors. We’re been working a lot on manners. He’s picked up on it pretty quickly and does a good job saying “peeease” and probably overuses “thank you” – a great problem to have. I often get three thank you’s whenever I bring him his dinner plate or fill his cup. And I love that. He also is quick to “excuse you” when he hears a burp. Often Dean doesn’t even realize he has burped and Landon will be there saying “excuse you daddy!” He’s definitely keeping us on our toes.
In the past month, we’ve also experienced our first tantrums. Landon has never big on raising his voice or expressing himself with more than a whininess when something doesn’t go his way. But lately, he’s started this ‘girl-like-screaming-at-the-top-of-his-lungs” thing. And I don’t like it. Dean doesn’t either. Often, we try to ignore it – showing him that he’s not going to get a rise out of us with that behavior so he needs to try something that will get our attention. We also reward him with lots of praise when he shows acts of love, listens immediately and talks instead of whines. We’ve also been working on having him ask for things in a calmer voice, instead of getting so upset and loud. Sometimes I lose it and force him into a timeout on the stairs or raise my voice at him (especially when I’ve had a long day, or Brooks’ is sleeping nearby) and it tries my patience.
I know I am asking God on a daily-basis for a gentle spirit and a patient heart when it comes to my kids. And of course, He’s giving me exactly what I’m asing for – opportunities to act patient and be loving when they make me want to pull my hair out! I regularly have to remind myself that they are kids and don’t rationalize like adults do – i.e. Landon, of course it’s not a good idea to stick a pea up your nose, or swirling your milk cup is likely going to cause a mess. In both instances Landon was SHOCKED with the stuck pea and spilled milk!
All in all, we’re learning as we go. Every phase of parenting has it’s own set of challenges and this is no different. We’ve run about par for the course with the common parenting adage – “Once you get into a routine or get used to your kids at a current stage of life – they go ahead and switch it up on you.”
I will also add that Dean and I agree that the toddler stage is the best so far. We love seeing him as a little sponge of knowledge, he is constantly learning new things and developing new skills. We are regularly shocked by things he remebers or asks for, and we can really start to see his little personality – a spunky, funny, loving boy. We love that he can be self-sufficient in some areas – like putting on his shoes, eating dinner, or finding his blankie – and in other areas, he relies on us completely – for comfort during “funder/lightning” storms, change his diapers and to put his seatbelt on. What a fun stage to be in!