Battle On {A tale of the terrible 2's}

pouting Ezra

His red hair says it all.  It tells of his fiery, vibrant personality before he even speaks a word, before he moves a muscle.  He has a wildness about him, a spirit that cannot be tamed.  I daily struggle with the worry of quenching this wild spirit while giving him the boundaries, limits, rules to live within.  Often, his wild, adventurous, 2-year-old-spirit sees these rules as something to be tested.

I get down on his level and ask him to look into mommy’s eyes.  He looks up and away, knowing he has pushed too far.

“Mommy asked you to stop jumping off the coffee table.  Do you understand why  mommy asked you to stop?”

He quietly averts his eyes again.

“Because it’s dangerous, and mommy doesn't want you to get hurt.  Do you  understand?”

“Yes mama” he asserts back, moving swiftly beyond my grasp.

I question if I should chase after him, give him a consequence for his actions, make sure he is taking me seriously.  This in itself is a game, a limit in which I don’t know where to fall.  If I give his negative behavior too much attention, he gets the wrong message.  If I ignore, he and I both lose the opportunity to have a learning moment.  But how much do I point it out, how much attention does it need?  What kind of punishment should a fiery and wild, 2 year old little boy get?

I go back to my task of washing the dishes, trying desperately to answer these questions as they go ramped in my head.  {I don’t know how to raise a boy.  Im so exhausted.  I don’t want him to hurt himself, but maybe he will finally learn if he does fall.}

Thuddd!

I turn behind me and his feet have just planted back on the ground following his jump from the coffee table.

I scream his name.

“I told you not to jump off the coffee table!  You need to sit in time out for 1 minute.”

I drag his heavy, limp body into the time out area because he refuses to walk.  I sit him down, facing the wall and he screams, failing his body down to the ground, kicking and screaming.

“NOOO!”  He shouts with furry.

I walk to the kitchen and set the timer for a minute.  I can see him from my position, and he continues with his fit.  His face is becoming as red as the beautiful curly locks that cover his head.

He looks over at me and he rises, knowing I can’t keep him down.

“Sit back down.  You’re in time out.  You need to stay there until the timer goes off.  We do not jump off the coffee table and we listen to what mommy says!”

He begins to calm.  Takes a long, audible deep breath as I have taught him time and time again.

I sahhhrryy” he says walking back towards me.

The timer beeps and I open my arms to him as he comes in to embrace me.  He looks me deep in the eyes this time.

“Mommy loves you bubba, but you cannot jump from the table.  Are you ready to show mommy you can be a listener?”

He sweetly affirms and I leave him to play again as he choses.

Not even 5 minutes pass and he has moved on to another forbidden fruit.  Going threw the drawers of the kitchen, taking each small, un-kid friendly item out.  I find him after I have finished changing his baby sister's diaper.  He looks at me with wide, guilty eyes.

Hey there” I say.  “Are we supposed to go through that?”

And then we are back at it again.  It’s a consent cycle.  And by the end of the day I am worn, weary, beat down by his tactics.  Some days the weariness seats in far too early.

“I am losing my mind” I silently say to myself.  “I am really losing my mind!”

I bite my tongue, and I pray, beg, for the grace and patience to conquer another battle.

The sun has set, dinner has been eaten and cleared.  He now smells clean and his rough skin is soft again, the dirt embedded under his finger nails has been scrubbed out and he comes to me.  He asks me to hold him.  Sweetly, he rests his head on my shoulder.  He puts his thumb in his mouth and he lays, says nothing and lays.  He knows I am a place of rest.  A place of safety.  A place of peace.  And so I battle on, a warrior mom who is in love with her precious, fiery, wild son.

ezra