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Wednesday, November 7

Eighteen Months:Jekyl & Hyde

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Oh Lucy. Lucy, Lucy, Lucy....

I look at that photo of you on the left, and ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.... You are perfection. The curls. The toothy smile. The little hands clasped. The sparkle in your eyes. You are the light of my days, and I feel such joy in being your mama. 

But then there's that photo on the right. In just the last few weeks, the sunny, easy-going Lucy has been replaced more and more with.... Well, with THAT Lucy. The Monster 18-Month Old.  

Where before, if I needed to tell you "no", to deflect your attention from something (a toy at the store, something special of Noah's, anything breakable or dangerous, etc.), you were so easily swayed and redirected to something else. It was so simple. 

Now? Oh, girl. You have learned what "no" means, and you get ANGRY when it is said to you. The growly scream you've begun to perfect is so. loud. And persistent. You will FIGHT for that thing like mad.

Where before, you'd be so chill and pleasant when we went out in public, happy to ride in the cart/be carried around/ hang out near mom and dad.

Now? You have to wriggle free. You have to have anything you see that catches your eye. You have to try to do things yourself. And you get LOUD when that doesn't happen. 

Where before, if Noah wasn't quite sharing as well as he should, I could hand you something else, most ANYTHING else, and you'd be content.

Now? You KNOW he's got something better than you and you holler at him and at me and try your darndest to wrest it away from him. And scream. And bawl. 

*
I think I am starting to lose my mind. 

I've been so spoiled. My baby girl has been so sweet. It's been AGES since I've had to work on hard discipline with EITHER of my kiddos. Noah is pretty easily communicated with when he needs to be taught things, and if we keep him fed and rested, he's not a stinker about anything. Really--- if we can keep him from saying "poop" too much, he's basically awesome. 

So to now face the monster 18-month-old issues, which I know are COMPLETELY normal and should be expected, I feel really unprepared and rusty and stressed out.  I just don't remember how to help facilitate Lucy's new independence... How to direct it and encourage positive structure and how to get a thick skin when I'm in public and totally embarrassed by her screeching anger at not getting what she wants. 

Help?

Seriously.... I am RUSTY. Can any of you other mamas of toddlers/veteran mamas who've had toddlers in the past/childcare types offer any insights? Reassurances? Advice? Even war stories? At the very least, if I feel like I'm not alone, I might get through this. 

!!

My memory of Noah at this age is that he was REALLY tough from 15 months old until about 20 months. Then he eased into a lovely phase after that where he understood boundaries a bit more, was able to communicate a bit better, and wasn't so VOCAL in his anger.  We were lucky in that he had his "terrible two's" early and was pretty lovely during his 2's. 

So can I hope that this will be short-lived with Lucy? That her formerly pleasant demeanor will ease back in sooner than later?

Is the key going to be ME? And my consistency in how I handle her reactions? 

(I suspect that's the secret: me. And what I decide to do to help her manage her reactions.)

So. 

Help, if you can. If you have thoughts on what I need to start doing/change/work on, I'm ready. My sweet Lucy deserves a well-prepared mama ready to help her tackle all of these new skills/emotions/awarenesses she's developing. 

Because despite being at my wit's end more and more these days, I sure love that stinker. And I want to be her best mama.  

9 comments:

  1. I totally feel for you!! My daughter is 16 months and started tantrums and being much more vocal about her wants/dislikes right around 15 months. I was completely taken by surprise not anticipating this kind of behavior until the terrible 2's. We're working on consistency and how exactly to deal with it all so if you find the magic solution through others' comments please share!! :) in the mean time, hang in there...you're not alone! ;)

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  2. Read the Parenting with Love and Logic series. I bet you will love it as much as I do. And if you don't have time to read it, check out some video clips on You Tube. I really REALLY think you will agree with it and have an AHA moment like I did (if you don't already know about it -- lots of schools are love and logic schools so you may already be familiar with it from your teacher days).

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  3. When they're sweet they're so very sweet. And when they're not, they're SOOOOOO NOT!!!

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  4. I have no words of wisdom today, but just wanted to say that her outfit is my favorite! Sheesh. Did you make that too?!

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  5. I'm starting to believe it is a total girl thing to be so vocal and persistent! Aubrey is now 27 months...and has gotten a *little* better. The other day I took her to the mall for something different to do....that girl screeched her anger towards me the whole time. She was for darn sure going on those escalators whether I wanted her to or not.... I thought to myself "Great, I'm THAT parent with THAT kid." Awkward.

    She's usually the sweetest little thing I could ever ask for...and then when she has her moments...hold on to your hat!

    Her communication is getting better though...so I'm seeing a light at the end of this very long tunnel. Until she's 13....

    Hang in there though! Lucy is totally worth it! What a dang cutie!!


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  6. I know it is hard and embarrassing sometimes, but the greater good is to set boundaries and let Lucy feel her feelings. Don't give in because it will be more difficult later on down the road. You can do this! I have faith in you!

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  7. I hate saying no to Nathan, but it has to be done. A friend shared with me a trick from Happiest Toddler on the Block - basically, she mirrors the feelings expressed, although not quite in such a vociferous manner. The idea is that the child feels like they are heard, not dismissed. They have little power and they know it. It is frustrating and they don't have much (any?) self control yet. The mirroring back of the feelings lets them know you get it. You don't give in, but as you talk them down from the ledge, they can start to hear the reasons behind it. It has helped us some, though Nathan is on to my tricks now. ;)

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  8. Oh lady, I am so there with you. So. There. The biggest thing has been just what you described--not so easy to distract these days. No advice here, just reassurance. That you are great and don't think for a second those meltdowns reflect on you! Be good to you so you have the energy and humor to handle it.

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  9. I think that the moms who sincerely want to be great moms and who seek advice on how to be the best moms they can be shows that they are already great moms! This is what I see from you!:) Congratulations on your darling little girl. I looked at the picture on the left and thought, "Oh, I love her." And then I looked at the picture on the right and thought,"Oh, I love her." :)

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