Lily Ruth and I have been butting heads several times each day for a while now. It's all just regular toddler stuff (don't want to get dressed, don't want to be strapped into my car seat, don't want to have my diaper changed, etc.), but it has meant that occasionally our relationship feels a bit strained. Add in the fact that we spend almost every waking hour together, and we seem to have whipped up a batch of 'You Get On My Nerves', and we both ate a huge portion.
In the midst of this, I have allowed myself to fall into one of my favorite patterns. I like to call it 'I'm All Wound Up and Everything Makes Me Angry - No, I Will Not Calm Down'. It's something that I have done for as long as I can remember. The fact that is has never, never, not even once yielded a positive result doesn't seem to stop me. In short, I'm a big ball of tense, cranky guilt. Sounds like fun, no?
I think (I hope) that the antidote is just to take a giant step back. I need to refocus myself and my attention. Let go of the cranky and the guilt and take a look at what's in front of me. My daughter is not trying to irritate me by refusing to have her picture taken or freaking out about her car seat. She's testing boundaries and voicing opinions. She's trying her darndest to become her own little person - exactly what she should be doing. She doesn't understand my desire to catalogue her growth or my responsibility to keep her safe. Those are my things - not hers. She's a good kid.
I'm doing my best to give her more 'power' during our day. Any time that I can, I give her a choice. I try to listen to and respect her 'NO' as often as possible. I'm making more of an effort to get down on her level to play or read books several times a day. I'm trying to do one unexpected (small) activity a day instead of slipping into our comfortable rut.
I've only been doing this for a few days, but it seems to be helping... me... and Lily Ruth too... and our relationship :-)
I'll let you know how it goes...