You may or may not know this but my toddler is challenging as hell.
Is he still considered a toddler? He’s 3.5, is that preschooler age? He’s not in preschool. I’m his Mom so I mostly consider him a little pain in the ass but you can’t say that out loud to most people.
Anyhoo, he’s a hard ticket. His first year of life was cool, apart from the regular baby stuff he was pretty chill. He let us know how he really felt about life about 1.5 years in. He was an anti-social kid. If you know me a little then you know I’m anti-social too, so I get it, but he took anti-social to the next level. He was basically acting out my inside my head feelings. I’m an adult so I know better, I know you’ve gotta hide those screams and cries because you don’t wanna be there when out in public.
We all know that wasn’t happening with a kid. Kids don’t hide feelings. It’s part of what makes them so wonderful and terrifying.
If we were going to a family function, the park, a walk, swimming, whatever fun family activity we had planned – if it involved my kid it involved cries and screams. My dear, sweet child refused to look at extended family members without tears and couldn’t stand to be around people singing Happy Birthday without having a full scale epic meltdown. Even if it was his own birthday. Hell, ESPECIALLY if it was his own birthday!
Coupled with this phase was the issue of clothing. Not only did he not want to go anywhere but he also did not want to wear ANYTHING unless it was Paw Patrol themed or onesie pajamas. Let me tell you, it’s not easy to find onesies for 3 year olds. Pro tip: buy cheap onesies from Walmart and cut the feet off. Works well for bedtime, not so much in public unless you want to tell people your kid has a part time job running for the Flintstones.
As you might have noticed, I called this phase.
I THOUGHT IT WAS A LIFESTYLE! I kid you not! In the thick of things, I thought this might be my life forever. I imagined myself on the news one day with my 20 year old son who is brilliant and can take apart an engine in his sleep but refuses to go outside unless he’s in Walmart onesie dump truck pjs with the feet cut off wearing men’s Paw Patrol sneakers.
I’ll love my kids no matter what but I will admit, I’m glad I’m not on the hunt for men’s underwear with Marshall on the bum.
The other day I was getting him dressed, I picked out a nice shirt and matching pants and socks and we got ready to go out. I suddenly realized, he had not made a fuss about anything I picked out. He was wearing a regular t-shirt, no overbearing television show characters emblazoned on it. No tears about what he’s got on, no clothing demands. Just asking questions – can we stop for a muffin? Can I buy him some cars? (Yes to the muffin. No to the cars – geez, money doesn’t grow on trees, I tell my son while invoking my mother.)
I’m not sure when everything changed. All I know is, it did. He will no longer cry when we go to family dinners. He’s excited to go and visit with his aunties, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. He requests to go to the park and friends houses. At the end of the day, when we cuddle in bed and talk about the good day we had and the nice things that happened/ things that we’re grateful for, he will talk about the people he saw and his favorite moments. I’m not sure what brought about the end of that phase, but I’m sure glad it’s come to close.
He’s still a challenging dude but life ain’t easy and I’m up for the task. And singing Happy birthday is only half on the table, just make sure to run it past him before you bust out the vocals.
Photo cred – Carissa Marie Photography