Oh man. Don't let the cuteness fool you.
This kid is stubborn.
But she is also sweet.
And so very loving.
And, oh yeah, CHALLENGING! Did I already say that one?
Let me back up and brag for a minute. Kate was an easy baby. I mean EASY. She was one of those kids that you didn't want to necessarily tell your fellow parent friends about, because while their child was waking up 15 times a night, Kate had been sleeping through the night since about 8-9 weeks. Might I add that this was totally a God thing because I went back to work full-time at 7 weeks, and He must have known I wouldn't have been able to handle getting up a ton. We got very lucky. She was a great eater (and still pretty much is). We never had issues with colic or milk intolerances. She was so laid back as a baby. Easy, easy, easy.
But she is not an easy toddler. Not even close. She presses my buttons. She tests the limits, and our patience. She pushes boundaries. Wait- she doesn't just push against boundaries, she pounds on them with a sledge hammer. She is what we in the south call "a handful", or probably more accurately- "a mess".
We've all heard about the terrible twos. And then when you have a kid that is either in or nearing that 2-year mark, magically every parent that you know starts telling you "Just you wait- three is worse". What!? Seriously? And even if that is true, why would you tell me that right now? I don't need to know that! I need encouragement. I need to be built up. I need that hope- hope that it is going to get better instead of more difficult.
So here's my advice (for what it's worth). If you're talking to a mom who is struggling, who is tired, who is so frustrated with dealing with the "terrible twos" - do not mention the "trying threes" or whatever they are called. Just don't do it. Tell them it gets better. Tell them to stay strong. Tell them to be consistent. Lie if you have to.
Because we already know that our kids can be difficult. We know that being a good parent is difficult.
We know all of that already. The challenges aren't a matter of not loving our kids enough, or not giving them enough time, or enough attention. It's just a part of them growing up, of learning to make choices and decisions themselves. Technically, it's a GOOD thing. It's just not an EASY thing.
So what we need to remember... especially when our kids are in the middle of being stubborn, and strong willed, and defiant, and, and and... we need to remember that our kids are also sweet.
And to make all those challenging times fade away a little bit, sometimes your kid will run at you full-force, throw their arms around you (for no reason at all), look up at you, and say "love you mommy". And that's pretty awesome.