Toddlers are insane. Toddlers are irrational and volatile. They are sneaky ninjas. They are menaces and maniacs.
Toddlers are amazing. Toddlers are spirited and enthusiastic. They are vibrant and alive. They are passionate, curious and constantly yearn to explore. They are my heroes.
My name is Jessica, and I’m am exhausted toddler mom.
I know I’ve made claims in past posts about dealing with toddlerhood, but I had no idea what I was talking about. I thought that was part was challenging, but boy oh boy, it gets harder.
Before I elaborate, I just want to send a shout out to all the parents out there. I am amazed by parents of multiple children because I find raising one child to be a great challenge. I am amazed by single parents doing it on their own because I have tons of support and am still struggling. I am just amazed by you.
As a toddler mama, it is my job to trust. It is my job to protect my daughter when she needs protecting, and to support her when she wants to explore. It is my job to reflect back to her the very wonderful girl she is on the inside. This means sometimes saying no, and other times saying yes. I am always close to her because sometimes toddlers hit or fall or get scared. I am there. I am present with her. And doing all this? It’s not always easy. And it’s definitely not perfect.
Last week, Emmy declared a nap strike. The way we had been approaching nap time was no longer tolerated, and she vigorously protested. She even climbed out of her crib, opened her door, walked out and said, “NO sleep.” At 21 months I was pretty shocked by this. Damn, girl’s got opinions, and strong ones at that!
So began the Nap Strike of ’17. And mama was at a loss.
After 8 days of struggles with her nap, I finally took a break and my husband took over. It took him a few hours but he reset the nap time ritual so that her stuffed animals are now involved. We call it a “nice nap” and we talk about how she is a big girl because she takes said “nice nap.” Since the dada reset, things have been doing pretty well. *Knock on wood!
What did I learn? I learned my daughter is strong-willed and when she has an opinion she’s going to let me know it very clearly. (You go girl, and also I’m tired.) I learned I need a break or else I will indeed burn out. I also learned what it means to make a decision for my child that she really hates, but I know is best for her.
I’m writing this as she naps with the following: a stuffed animal dinosaur, cookie monster, broccoli, hippo, turtle and two baby dolls. She asked for more but I had to draw the line somewhere, right?