21 months–that is when my daughter started her “terrific twos” meltdowns. Our sweet, good-natured daughter with the angelic smile now has moments, minutes, even halves of an hour of pure loss of control. They do not happen often but enough to leave my husband, Scott, and I shaking our heads in dismay. Our daughter will cry, lie down, push away any consolation. It is heartbreaking, troubling, and absolutely exhausting.
A little secret that I must confess–I have no clue what I am doing some days. Oh yes, I have read some articles; I’ve studied child development in school. I have got the knowledge and instincts of a teacher. But my kids–probably like all children–are not textbook kids. Distract her from a meltdown? No way. Firmly restate directions or choices to a screaming son? Not having it. Count 1-2-3? Heck no!
During a recent meltdown, I found myself lying next to my daughter on her bedroom floor. I had let her be alone for a few minutes, but she was so upset, I needed to put myself near her. I had to let her know I was nearby and ready to give her any support she needed.
While resting there, trying to find a comfortable way to wait patiently on a hard floor, I looked down at my socks. “I am a great mom.” At least that’s what my socks were telling me. They were a fun gift from my sister on my 40th birthday (from www.notestoself.com). At that moment, I tried to use those words as a mantra of some sort.
“I am a great mom.” Yes, I must believe it. No, I will not kid myself to think that means I know what I am doing. I am even willing to admit that I have already made a ton of mistakes and will surely make many more. I will keep trying, however. I will seek answers. I will read fellow blogs or articles, talk to my husband, friends, and family, and definitely pray a lot. Basically, I will just do the best I can.
When in doubt, I will go back to my old standby–love (this is what my parents used too). Scott and I will love our children through the meltdowns, love them through the growing pains, love them through the sleepless nights and the noisy car rides, and (may God help us) love them through the teenage years. Oh, there are many easy times in parenting too–the giggles, the hugs, the happy routines. That’s the good thing about love–it is there through it all. In the meantime, I think I’d better get Scott his own pair of socks. This is quite a journey we are on!
Mommy’s Note: In case my daughter reads this years from now, I want her to know she really is a happy, sweet girl. She just likes to save up for some big meltdowns to remind us that she’s human. We love you!