Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What was I thinking?

Why did I think I can do all of this?

I am completely overwhelmed most days. The past three weeks, while fun filled, have been exhausting. Seren is really challenging these days. I love her stories and her many funny sayings but she is so hard to deal with sometimes. She requires so much patience. Everything is a battle these days. I find myself hardly laughing with her as she doesn't want something I have just made for dinner, doesn't want to wear the clothes she just picked out, and doesn't want to get into the car when she just, moments before, gleefully said "CAR!". Before I had a two year old, I thought the label "Terrible Twos" was a horrible label. Afterall, how can a child be "terrible"? I still think that but I do have a sense of what others mean. It is SUCH a challenge- this stage of independence. Seren isn't "terrible" she is just...hmm..."moody".

And believe me, I have enough moods to go around. When I was pregnant with Seren, there are some famous stories of me being (uncharacteristically) extremely rude. I feel very irritable these days too. While I love the life growing inside, with him on the inside kicking and moving and squishing me and Seren on the outside yelling and pulling on me, I just feel like I'm about to fall apart by the time 8:00 pm comes. I really can't even begin to visualize our lives when he actually is born! And I worry about that. And I worry that maybe we aren't being good parents to Seren and then? Well, it tailspins from there.

That being said, during this past weekend, I had a moment of clarity about discipline. I found myself raising my voice too often last week and feeling like an Ogre of a parent. That isn't my style. It also isn't that effective with Seren. And the more upset I get, the more upset she gets and before you know it, everyone is yelling and who wants that?

My friend Joanie lived in the Congo for 20 years. She talks about "African Time" in that it is quite different from the Western sense of "time". Folks are late to events because well, they were busy chatting. We found the sense of time refreshing when we visited Ghana. "Rushing" isn't a concept that is well valued.

I think Seren has a sense of this African Time. She is in the Seren Time Zone. (STZ) Her time doesn't really correspond to our time. Acknowledging this this weekend made me realize that she doesn't understand "rushing"; which is refreshing. I find myself simply waiting a little longer for her to respond. And she does. She is just really busy chatting with her stuffed animals or playing with her cars. She will get to it (it being dinner, washing up for a meal, cleaning) when she can.

The other epiphany, which really shouldn't have been an epiphany, was the realization that while she cognitively seems to understand a TON, she is only two. A year ago, she was still taking a bottle at this time! We have a long way to go in terms of self control. Why do I think otherwise? While she is such a big girl in all of the things she can do on her own (dress herself, feed herself, talk), she is still a really little person. She isn't going to be "ruined" forever as an adult if she doesn't "listen" to everything we ask her to do the first two times. Afterall, she is busy learning about something else.

This post reads exactly as I am feeling this morning: scattered! All over the place in terms of frustrations, disappointments in myself, and exhausted by the idea of adding another child to this madness. But I'm also hopeful. We are ALL learning about "how to" be two years old and how to parent a two year old.

It is a steep learning curve. But we are in it together.

I think the baby "needs" a doughnut, don't you?


Laura S said...

Yes Meg, Baby needs a donut desperately. I am completely with you on the two-year old thing. He is just so willful and stubborn sometimes and then has crying/whining fits when he doesn't get what he wants! What a crazy, wonderful kids we have.

Thanks for venting your frustrations and worries, you will be fine and it will all fall into place, even thought we don't know what we are doing. Let's talk soon (maybe during nap-time on a weekend so you don't have to stay up so late).

Heres to loving 2-year-olds and wanting to sell them on eBay at the same time!

Beth said...

Oh my goodness--I SOOOO needed to read this post this morning. I actually told William he was pissing me off last night. Yes--those were my words and I was mortified and so upset with myself that I said it. He was being so completely unreasonable and I was truly at my wits end. Not my greatest moment, but I'm only human. We live and learn. So your epiphanies are so completely on the mark for me. I had lunch with a friend yesterday who also has a two year old, and she described her daughter as an "active non-listener." that made me laugh! Thank you so much for today's post. Deep breaths. We'll get through this. Hugs!

LauraC said...

Another one voting for deep breaths. Good for you for listening to Seren's time zone. I admit I do not always do it because if I had to be NTZ and ATZ, I might go completely and utterly insane. Nothing would get done ever, on any pace.

And yep, I was rude last night to my boys. Every night they keep trying more and more stall tactics at bedtime. Nate put out his 5 millionth request and I said, "Look Nate, I'm sick of it. It's bedtime. You go to bed now. End of story."

I think sometimes I get so tired of being the one to have all the patience that I need them to hear me too, you know? I've started to look at it as a two way relationship. I know they have feelings but I have feelings too.