My two year old is particularly intense today. He’s demanding more from me even though I have nothing more to give. He’s not himself. He’s acting out and doing things he never does. He’s hurt the baby three times intentionally. He threw the clean clothes out of the basket and all over the floor and then called me in to show me. He kicked the dog and threw his breakfast on the floor. I know this uncharacteristic behaviour is all him desperately trying to tell me he needs me, he needs more from me but I am honestly at a loss as to what it is he needs! I have given every cuddle, every distraction, every ounce of attention, listening, hearing and understanding and STILL he wants more.
It doesn’t help that the baby refused all attempts to get him down for his sleep. His continued presence has certainly not helped.
As he hurt the baby for the third time, I felt something crack in me. But, as I scooped the baby up, I took a deep breath and calmly walked my toddler to a room and closed the door.
I did not put him in timeout. I did not think he was learning anything being shut away but he was safe.
He was safe from my rising anger and safe from his own loss of control.
I then calmly packed our bag and loaded it and the baby in the car. I went and retrieved him from the room and gave him a big, warm cuddle and I explained and reassured him about what had just happened. He calmed quickly and I loaded him in the car.
We got out.
We escaped from the ever escalating frustration and misunderstanding we had going on at home.
The baby still didn’t sleep but nor did he cry. He happily crawled around and had a few quick feeds to keep calm. My toddler got to dance and sing and enjoy rhyme time while I got to sing and smile and build some positivity back up with my guy.
As we left, I made sure everyone had a full tummy and had extra drinks for hydration. We then loaded back in the car and cranked up some Classic FM for a calm drive home. I took the scenic route to give me a little longer to just chill and amazingly, when I pulled up at home, I had two peacefully sleeping babes who even transferred to bed which in itself is a small miracle.
So here I lay, between my babes. Soaking up the peaceful sleepy vibes and I appreciate how far I’ve come and how far I still have to go on this journey of gentle parenting.
It is so hard to not lose your temper. It is so hard to remain calm. It is so hard not to join the storm. If I find it so hard, I can only imagine how hard it must be being two.
I may not have been able to meet all his needs today and I know he needed more but I also think he knew I was trying as hard as I could and for today, that will be enough.
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