I have a 19 month old that makes me want to pull my hair out – if not worse – just about every day. It really has nothing to do with his personality; I recall having similar feelings with all of my 19-month olds. Most of them weren’t very verbal, which is frustrating for them, and for me. In some cases, nursing has also been a factor, and it certainly is one now.
It really isn’t his fault; my current baby nursed constantly as an infant. I coped by nursing and typing (as mentioned in an earlier post). Only now every time I sit at the computer it is construed as an invitation to nurse. And I sit at the computer a great deal of the day.
The truth is that he is active, curious, and has a very reasonable expectation that someone (meaning me) will play with and entertain him all day, and take care of the house, the other kids, the bills and work – all during his hour-long nap.
I blame myself and get quite harsh with the “ima guilt” over how little that interests me. I do drop everything and play with him — so that I can jump back to “getting things done”. It doesn’t help that I know that his proper development is the thing I am supposed to be “getting done.” I wish it did.
I dealt with this issue with each of my children, and I had one simple solution that worked every time. A mother’s helper. With so many little children so close in age it was easy to justify a second set of hands to give me a break now and again. This way, with frequency depending on the child, someone would take said toddler to the park, or play trains, or spend an hour over lunch, etc… and that someone didn’t have to be me. This was not only great for my endless pursuit of doing too many things at once, but it allowed me a pause in the constant desire to pull out my hair – or worse.
My circumstances no longer make it as easy for me to justify the help. I am going to have to see if delaying getting help with him will result in my needing help for me. In the meantime, I am resolving to do “work” as much as possible after he goes to sleep. All of the rest of my work, i.e. taking care of my family, he will just have to do alongside me.
I did some digging into whether there are other moms with 19 month olds that want to pull their hair out — or worse. And that is how I was reminded (I really did already know) that the terrible twos are just like everything else in the development of a child; “on a scale”. Every child comes to things in their own time. Including being infuriating. They don’t wake up on their second birthday being difficult… getting that way is a process that takes time; growing out of it unfortunately is too.
I did find it redeeming to read that time-outs are not too sophisticated for a child that a) understands verbal commands and b) is clearly defying them on purpose in order to test his/her parents. This is really nice to read, since we have been doing it anyway.
One other way I cope is to blog. While perhaps not even my friends will actually read through such a long posting, I have at least had the chance to record it.
I like newborns and elementary schoolers better than “difficult toddlers”, “terrible twos”, or whatever inappropriate label we want to give them. It doesn’t mean I don’t love my child, of course. It means I have enough honesty to recognize that some phases work better for some of us than others. And who would have thought I would enjoy my preteen and my teenager more than a cute little toddler? I think that is something to feel good and proud about.