It was 6:50 am, we needed to be out the door in 10 minutes. I asked Dean to come brush his teeth and get a vitamin after shutting off Paw Patrol. We don't always watch cartoons in the morning but he got up early and I needed to finish getting ready.
As I am trying to get him dressed, he throws himself on the ground and rolls away from me. I politely ask him to stand up and get dressed, "he laughs and runs away." I threaten to take away his blanket (which he loves) he says, "no mommy." I again repeat to come get dressed.
We usually get dressed before we leave his room but he woke up early and I thought I would leave his pjs on for a while, I guess I should have stuck to our routine.
We then manage to get dressed to then have a similar reaction to brushing teeth. He stuck his tongue out at me and I just completely lost my patience. I picked him up and without saying anything sat him on his bed and walked out of the room. He began to cry and I finished packing up my school things. About 5 minutes after I cooled down, I went back in there and asked if he was ready to finish getting ready. After I dropped him off, I sat in my car and cried. I know toddlers have tantrums, I know they get silly and refuse to listen but lately it has been really bothering me. I don't like feeling frustrated with him.
Dean is a mama's boy and I am usually able to read him pretty clearly but lately I can't figure out what is bothering him. He is acting out more than usual; being aggressive and throwing toys. He sticks his tongue out at me and laughs when I tell him no. We have tried time-outs, taking toys away, etc. and it doesn't seem to change his behavior. He seems to get more heightened when we give him a consequence or discipline. I have tried talking to him and he seems to take in what I am saying but then turns around and pulls the dogs tails for the 10th time.
All of this plus the behavior of my students at school have me about to my wits end.
I literally got called a B**** today by an 8th grader... all because I asked them to add a few things to their poster. I had students "wrestling" in my classroom and I repeatedly have to remind them not to tattle, to keep their hands to themselves, not say rude comments, cus, etc. It really wears on you by Friday. I do not remember students behaving like this when I was in school.
I shouldn't put all of the students in the same box. There are still respectful kids out there. One students always helps me pick up the room after his class. Pushing in chairs, picking up scraps off the floor etc. Another student made baby Hibbs a cute little stocking cap and I had a student bring me some homemade pickles and salsa after we discussed fermentation in class.
This makes me wonder, what makes the difference in personality, environment, or parenting that fosters those good behaviors? The polite behaviors? The students who want to do good quality work and don't ask, "is this good enough."
Diving into teaching while having a toddler, plus being pregnant... is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done.
I know I shouldn't take these things personal but I am literally exhausted at the end of the day.
If you know me... you know I love podcasts, books and all things research. I have been listening to all things behavior and motherhood.
I am learning about gentle parenting. A term that means to approach kids with respect and empathy, to offer choices rather than make demands, to give space to the child's feelings and emotions and avoid losing your cool in frustrating situations. I believe there needs to be a balance between "gentle" parenting and traditional consequences like timeouts, earlier bed-times, etc. I feel like in today's day, we "foster" those feelings too much sometimes we can accidently mold our youth to be offended by everything they hear. I also thing sometimes this promotes bad behavior in a way that nothing bad happens if they do make a bad choice. We were grounded growing up... we had our phone taken away on occasion and I think this is okay. We need to know that life will give us consequences.
But with Dean and my students at school, I think there needs to be give and take. Dean is fueled by my reaction. I need to stay calm and collected. I need to pinpoint his triggers and help to deescalate the situation. At school I need to not be a push-over. The students just tend to think they can get away with whatever.
We had a fantastic evening tonight. After a really hard day... I needed a good night and it was everything I could have asked for. We checked cows, played outside, made dinner, colored and read books.
I think my attitude was different. As tired as I was, I found the energy to give Dean the attention he craved. I set a timer for play time and let him know when we would be cleaning up. I let him be independent when it came to taking off shoes, picking out books, etc. I gave him some choice in the sides we were having for dinner. I changed my attitude and it seemed to help him a little bit.
Dean is such a strong willed child. He has a big personality and as challenging as the toddler phase is, I love watching him take in the world around him. He is so smart and he can be the sweetest kid ever. For example, tonight I made soup for dinner with sandwiches, I gave him one and he looked at me and said, "thank you mama for making me a "sanmich."
I try so hard to be the best mom I can be and sometimes I just plain feel like I am failing. On other days I might have a moment where I feel like I am rocking at this thing called motherhood (the really easy halloween hide and seek activity I made was such a big hit, we were hiding the pictures for days in row. Checkout my Instagram to see the set up, I think I might make something similar for Thanksgiving and Christmas).
It is a give and take and I need to be better at giving myself grace. This season of life is so fleeting and I want to give Dean the tools he needs to flourish while also soaking in all of the joyful moments.
How come we go to school for 12 years+ to get an education and then we pursue additional training in driving, our health, career, etc. but we never take classes on parenting besides maybe the "what to expect when you're expecting" class that is all about birth and the newborn stage. We are sort of just tossed into this crazy beautiful season and expected to know how to navigate it.
I am not really looking for advice unless you have great toddler tips... but I am more just writing down my thoughts to get my feelings out and to also connect with others who might be in the same phase. You are not alone!
Thank you for reading!