A Mother’s Take on Toddlerhood (While In The Thick of It)

As of writing this post, our boys are aged 2 months shy of 3 years old and 16 months. So, right smack in the middle of what Toddlerhood is. While each age comes with unique challenges, I think toddlerhood can sometimes get an especially bad rep. When you hear from other parents talking about their experience, I’ve heard toddler and teenage years can be some of the hardest years. Personally, I think toddlerhood is just very mis understood. Not in a bad way, it can be so hard for us to understand as it has been years since we went through it and we don’t remember it. I think this may have been one of the most important shifts in thinking when it comes to parenting.

***I’ve touched slightly on an outline of what I will be saying, which can be viewed HERE***

As parents when our kids are acting out, misbehaving, throwing temper tantrum after temper tantrum, it is very easy to become flustered. Happens to the best of us, and it is completely normal to just want to throw your hands in the air and walk away. AND sometimes that is the best thing to do. Sometimes that can be the key to diffusing whatever the situation is.  It can be easy to lose our patience as we ask for the toys to be picked up for the fourteenth time, or to not play with the food, or to not touch something. It can be so draining to feel like you are just repeating yourself with no action or apparent listening. I think this is why people say toddler hood is tough.

And it is.I am not disputing the fact that parenting one toddler, let alone two, or three is tough. It is draining. (Make sure that you take care of yourself during this time, otherwise everything I say after this point will not work)

BUT(gotta love those buts right?!)…

If we think it is hard on us as parents, think about how hard it is on our children. They are being thrust into a whole new level of mental development, they are growing physically, they are trying to figure out how to navigate the world that just seems to be getting bigger and scarier. They are trying to figure out what are boundary lines, what they can and can’t do. How to articulate their feelings, hell what they are feeling. They are working on developing better communication skills and most of the time are bursting with things to say, things to do, places to see, parents/grandparents/relatives/friends to remember. ALL AT THE AGE OF 2.

Can you blame them for getting frustrated with not being able to say something, or talk about something that they really want to tell you, but they just don’t have all the words? Can you blame them when all they want to do is find the toy that they hid from themselves in a game? Or try to put the train tracks together a certain way and it’s just not working?

Imagine feeling angry about something, not being able to understand first that you are feeling angry and then second how to tell someone what you are feeling angry about? That is frustrating. Then imagine, as you are getting frustrated and angry, you see your parent, loved one, person you look up to, start to get frustrated. It escalates quickly (and again, it happens to all of us from time to time, no doubt about it).

Our children get thrust into this world and it is our responsibility as parents to help them, to guide them, as they learn. We cannot do that if we don’t at least try to understand what they must be going through. What we see as well, he’s angry about x, y, or z, is not what they see. They just have all of these things building up inside with no way to let them out. We only know that because we’ve learned that as we’ve grown up.

So, before you talk about the terrible two’s or the threenagers, try and think about what your children are experiencing. Sure, parenting is hard work. It is tough and draining. BUT think about what it is like through your child’s eyes, without having all of the knowledge that we as parents (or adults) now have.

Friday Morning Cups – A Super Important Motherhood One

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“Toddlers are not giving us a hard time, they are having a hard time”. Saw this quote a little while ago and it really just put me back in the right mindset. Figured I would share it as well as it may remind someone else of what toddlers go through. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it ISN’T hard to be a parent (it is at times and I will be the FIRST PERSON to acknowledge that, I actually just recently did), but I am going to try and say that sometimes we need to rethink our thought process when it comes to “terrible two’s”, “threenagers”, etc (which I totally do say those things, so I’m not perfect with this by any means.

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It’s hard for us to truly understand (as we as adults now possess the abilities our youngsters are learning), but imagine having all the feelings, feelings which you’ve never experienced before, learning all of these new things you’ve never known before, trying to understand the vastness and complexity of the world you live in, without having the words to express yourself. Without having the ability to truly make sense of what is going on around you. Sounds frustrating, right?

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So, when you are dealing with the 5th temper tantrum over your first morning cup, try to remember, they don’t understand. They are trying to learn about their world. Their rules. Their role. And it is up to us, as their parents to calmly riddle it out for them. To show them the way. To speak to them and help them understand. It is hard for them, just as it  can be draining for you. AND if you are feeling drained, say something. Take a little breather and do some self care. 

Storytime: Mom Knows Best

I’ll be completely honest right now, I don’t really know even how to start this post off. I think I’ve thought about writing it for so long now and I’ve actually written and re written it several times. I’m still not sure how this is going to go, but I really want to share this. Being a mom can be scary at times and even the most confident, will stumble at a time or two.

I know that this can lead to a sensitive topic for some, so I want to quickly say that weight gain is a serious thing and I know that. It can be a sign of a lot of potential problems and I took every bit of what we were being told (as well as some of my own instincts and research) in. I am not a doctor andI do know that there are times that I will need to listen to Doctors (and do!) and understand that they know better than I do, but on the whole I have realized that sometimes it’s best to also take your own judgement into consideration. Our issue was not that he was not gaining weight, but that his picture of health as a whole was not taken into consideration from the beginning. What I was seeing and how little man was acting as a whole did not match what we were being told.

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Sweet Little Man (around 12-13 months)

Our first son is 14 months old now and I can definitely say that I’ve learned a thing or two about being a mom and being more confident in myself and my decisions as a mom. Things that I will be keeping in mind as we welcome our second son this summer. One of the most important things that I have learned is there is nothing like Mom’s Knowledge/Intuition.

We struggled with Doctors and Colton. I should preface this with the fact that both myself and my husband are above average height with small to average frames. My husband is 6 ft tall and thin and I’m around average (ish) height and thin as well. Colton follows along the same line, which we realized very quickly. When he was born he was long enough to fit into 3 month clothing, but definitely not anywhere near in the weight department.

At Colton’s two month appointment, I had a Nurse Practitioner sit and insinuate that I was starving my child. That I was not providing enough for him. Now before you say, well what did she say, maybe your hormones blew what she was saying out of proportion. No. She said that I was not providing enough and he was starving. He had gained weight and grew quite a bit longer and I was struggling to reconcile what she was saying with what I was seeing. I could see the growth in my child. He was happy, eating healthily, meeting the milestones that he needed to be (although not many at that time) and I was in shock at what she was telling me.

*It was about a month after this appointment that we realized that my milk, while it had come in, my supply had not been able to keep up with the demand. So while he was getting enough from me up until this time, it wasn’t enough for a long term nursing situation.

If that wasn’t bad enough to be told as a first time mom, when your son is 2 months old, it got worse. The first time she said it, I was in a little bit of shock. The second time, my mommy instincts kicked in and I said “Ok. What do we do”. Instead of working with me and coming up with a plan, she just continued on with her statements. We went back and forth, with me trying to come up with a plan. If my child truly needed more, I was willing to do whatever it took to get that for him. In the end, after several times of asking, I decided that we would supplement with formula. Eventually we ended up switching entirely over to formula.

*Honestly, I could (and maybe I will at some point) write a whole separate post about this experience, but for now this little summary will do.

Colton continued to grow longer and started filling out a little bit. He started to surpass the developmental milestones that they are supposed to meet and again, I was looking at a happy and seemingly healthy baby. I had recovered from my complete breakdown after Colton’s two month appointment and everything was back on track. Then, we headed to his 4 month Well Baby appointment.

Again I was told that he wasn’t gaining enough weight, although he had put on a lot for him and grown much longer, and that I was not doing what I should be. Let me just say, I was letting Colton decide how much he wanted to eat at every bottle. I couldn’t force feed him more than he wants and he was eating close to 6 ounces every single bottle, if not more. He had surpassed most of his developmental milestones and was working on 6 month milestones. I could see with my own eyes that he was doing wonderfully, but I had a Nurse Practitioner (and then a doctor) telling me that I was failing. It was at that point that I said to hell with it, switched doctors, and started tracking things on my own.

It was clear to me that my son did not follow along the growth curves like other children did when it came to weight. He puts on weight, but he is more likely to grow longer than wider. His first doctor did not even bother to review not only his growth as a whole to include his length, but to look at how we, as his parents, were built. I was mad leaving his 4 month doctors appointment. My gut as his mother was continually telling me that he was just fine, healthy and that we were doing everything we were supposed to.

Things got better once we switched his doctor. We still have issues from time to time with the concern over his weight, but it’s not in a way of his doctor saying we are starving him. I take most of his weight gain concerns in, keep a watchful eye on how his eating is going, and overall watch how his behavior is. I am with him all day long and I am the first to realize when something is wrong. Realizing that I am his number 1 and best advocate and that at times, I will know best and will know better than the doctors has been the best thing both for him and for us as a family. By having this attitude, my son is not only happy, healthy, meeting milestones way above his age, and growing appropriately, but our family is also happier and healthier. I am happier and healthier.