One of my friend’s refers to children like toddler P as spirited, I refer to her as bonkers! She’s crazy, full of life and energy. She runs at 100mph from morning until night. Another of my friend’s thinks she needs her own comedy sketch show. Little P is hilarious, she’s got a vivid imagination, whether it’s the tiger that lives on our drive that she’s talking to or the fairies in the back garden eating her “bakefast” she’s certainly keeping me entertained.
This is also draining however, her strength of character whilst brilliant, is also trying. It means she’s strong minded and wilful, she was things on her terms and needs to learn the boundaries and expectations. Now I know she’s not even 2 yet so I need to not rush things but I also have to keep discipline as a careful balancing act choosing my battles carefully whilst ensuring she starts to learn right from wrong and how to be kind without making her life full of dos and donts. My child minder says “children aren’t naughty, they’re learning” and it’s true, at this age toddler P is learning what it means to be naughty, she’s learning what she can and can’t do and I have to be there to guide her safely. That said, her strength and determination make this hard. As much as I correct and teach, she pushes back. She knows what she wants and she’ll really push to get it. And that’s where I have to be careful, if I give in she learns that such behaviour gets her what she wants but standing my ground is often easier said then done, especially in Asda, when it’s busy, in the sweetie aisle, where everyone is looking. But I’ve adopted the surf board carry pretty well and can use distracting tactics like the best of them.
I have a love hate relationship with my daughter’s bolshy manner. It makes playtimes fun, it makes life fun, it means we can be silly, I actively encourage her wild imagination, her silliness, her loudness, her active liveliness and her lust for life. I encourage her determination and independence, letting her get frustrated as she attempts to fasten her shoes or coat herself because sometimes this frustration leads her to work it out and manage it. However, I also get frustrated by this, because there’s times when she needs to be calmer, times when I need to do things for her, times when actually I don’t want her strength and determination, I want her to do as she’s told and follow my instructions.
This is all totally normal but it also explains a lot, the goalposts move for toddlers all the time. We tell them not to touch things in a shop and yet we’re picking items up of the shelf. We encourage them to try and do things for themselves but then on a busy work morning want to do it for them to get out the door on time. We tell them to share with others but then tell them they cannot touch our phone/laptop/make up etc. We almost teach them lessons and then almost unteach them as we add another rule or loop hole. No wonder they have tantrums, we encourage something but then only want it on certain terms, yes it’s part of life and things they need to learn and understand but crikey it’s hard for them. They’re just little sponges at the moment with inquisitive curious minds that want to explore and investigate and we want this we think it’s brilliant but we want to and have to put limitations on it.
I love toddler P’s creativity, I love her strength and determination, I know it’s this strength that will get her through in life, it will help her succeed, be happy and not take any shit off of anyone. But sometimes, especially getting changed after swimming when I’m trying to hide my jiggly bits under a towel, I’d prefer her to be more subdued!
I’ve had many friends and relatives say, “yeah but as much as it’s trying, I’d rather have a sparky kid” and it’s true I love her mischievous smile, the twinkle in her eye and her dramatic nature (can’t imagine where she gets it from) she’s very much like me. She’s outgoing and confident, she’s switched on and picks up a lot and she certainly is bossy. Having been through a lot in my life, I know it’s having that same strength and strong mindedness that’s helped me overcome these difficult obstacles. It’s the same inner guts of steel that have made me not let others compromise my own well being and as much as I sometimes consider sticking a price tag in toddler P and sticking her on the local market stall, I know it’s this stubbornness that she needs. I know this strength she has will make sure she’s ok in life.
Having a spirited child is hard work, it requires a lot of patience, a good sense of humour and copious amounts of gin, but it’s bloody well worth it because I know my little girl will do just fine, in fact more than fine because this kid’s got balls!