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I have tried writing this post for weeks but every time I go to finish it, I end up “putting out a fire” somewhere else.
My 2 and a half year old daughter Brianna is going through a rough patch.
In fact, she’s in time-out right now.
It’s like a switch was flipped about a month and a half ago.
The temper tantrums are sometimes unbearable, her sudden fears and anxieties seemingly came out of nowhere and she hates bedtime. She cries at the drop of the hat, and by the end of the day sometimes, I’d honestly like to join her.
I feel bad even sharing my feelings because I love both of my daughters more than anything, but I have to believe I’m not the only one struggling with this phase and I could use some encouragement!
Up until recently, I have to admit, Brianna was an easy child. Great temperament, extremely smart, very silly, great sleeper. Maybe that’s why this phase is so difficult for me? It’s honestly like I have two different daughters.
In the past few weeks I’ve even questioned whether I needed to do better. Maybe I need to be more patient, more nurturing, more creative, better at redirecting her, but the truth is, I’m trying REALLY, REALLY hard, but often feel like if I make any headway, it’s like two steps forward, three steps back.
I felt like that today.
We had a great day yesterday. I’ve been taking my girls outside every day since it’s been warm for walks and playing in the backyard. The fresh air and exercise is good for all of us after being cooped up all winter. It definitely helps, but sometimes those moments are short lived. When I say it’s “time to come inside” I pray she doesn’t have a breakdown. I’ve gone out of my way to make everything we “have to do” fun. I’ll say, “your sister and I will chase you” or “chase us” or I’ll redirect her to the next thing we need to do.
One day while she was having a temper tantrum, I had a whole pretend party in her dollhouse, complete with a band and pretend food and guests to try and snap her out of her bad mood. She kept inching towards us and commenting about what we were doing until I would respond and the crying would start all over again. Ok, lesson learned, my bad. I’ve now resorted (trying anyway) to ignore the tantrums.
She’s also afraid of the drain in the bathtub now. I was so excited when my youngest was old enough to sit up and the two could take a bath together. So cute and adorable and fun for both of them, and easier for me too. But one day, she lost it when I started draining the water. I’ve never seen anything like it. All of a sudden, she got so scared and was shaking. I grabbed her out of there and was freaked out for her. What happened? Once my husband and I were able to calm her down and talk to her about what happened, she explained to me she was afraid the drain would take the toys. Ok, no more movies. My husband and I don’t let her watch much, in fact, I only used to allow one half hour show a day. After that incident, we’re pretty much down to none.
Bedtime has also become a great source of stress. Before, it was story time, potty and goodnight. Now, it’s story time, potty, goodnight, and sometimes hours of “I have to go potty” or “I need my __ whatever toy she wants at that point” or “I need one more hug” “I want (mommy or daddy whoever DIDN’T put her to bed)” or “I need a special treat” “I just don’t feel good” is really popular right now and has fooled me SEVERAL times!
I KNOW other kids have gone through this stuff, but it’s our first rodeo. I guess I wasn’t expecting such a big change at once or maybe I didn’t think my “perfect” little girl had it in her. Silly me. Just the first of many surprises I’m sure. I just can’t help but feel frustrated and sad and frankly helpless sometimes because as parents, don’t we just want our kids to be happy and healthy?
I cherish the moments she hugs me and says “mommy I love you” and nothing beats her smile and she’s so smart she rattles off more than a dozen nursery rhymes in song now. I just pray this phase will work itself out and I can see more of THAT daughter. Believe me, I KNOW I have my days and I’m not always a happy camper. As her mom though, I will keep trying my best to help her through this rough patch.