Come, Mommy

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Baby Duck Wants This and That and the Other Thing

I think I need to rediscover my Attachment Parenting skills. I used to use them. Frequently. These days those skills are off gathering dust somewhere, and there are days where the only evidence of AP practice in our house is the nursing and the Fuzzi Bunz. The problem is that AP is easier to apply to infants, and now I've got a son who will reach the 2.5 year mark in a couple of weeks.

AP theory says that, in essence, it's our job to meet our babies' needs. That they are not manipulating us, and that those needs are real. The catch is that at 2.5 years, Liam still needs me to meet most of his needs, but sorting out what those needs might be is infinitely more complicated. For instance, when he's tired, he needs sleep. Sounds simple, right? Nope. When he gets tired, he presents with a lengthy list of wants, and at least some of those wants have to be fulfilled in order for him to sleep. "Baby Duck wants grilled cheese, soy milk, and crackers. And then to read Little Quack. And then to play zoom with cars." Usually, supplying one of the above items will do the trick, and then it's naptime. Sometimes, however, the list keeps growing and growing and growing until it's the longest list in the world. (With due apologies to Margret and H. A. Rey. Pretzel is a Very Important Book in our house.)

Lately I've found myself growing impatient with toddler antics; I've been snippy and short on several occasions, and I hate being that way. I find myself thinking that he's 2 and there's a reason for the term "Terrible Two's." The issue is that when he gets this cranky, there's a valid reason behind it, and just saying to myself, "He's being a cranky toddler" isn't cutting it. There's a problem that needs to be fixed in there somewhere.

Yesterday and today I found some patience reserves that I thought I'd lost somewhere. I was calm, and so was Liam. Amazing how that works, no? And it turns out he can tell me the problem if I'm willing to listen. He had another unending list of demands today at naptime, and instead of just starting to turn down requests, I asked Liam why he was asking for all these things. The answer?

"Baby Duck's mouth hurts. And his neck hurts. And he's cold. And he's not too happy, is he?"

After this answer, I was able to verify that he's got molars coming through, and he's feverish, and it looks like a cold is brewing just to top things off. So I'd say he's got reason to be cranky, and he kept asking for all of these things because he was looking for something that would help him feel better. It's just that at his age, he doesn't have the ability to cut to the chase and ask for Motrin and a nap.

Mothering a toddler is in many ways harder than mothering an infant. Sure, I'm not pacing the floors at midnight trying desperately to find a reason for all the crying. But chasing a toddler is physically demanding, and the tantrums, they are draining. I'm pretty lucky since Liam doesn't throw tantrums as often as many toddlers do, but still, this mom gig is hard stuff. And from all I've been told, it never really ends.

I guess the moral here is that I need to stock up on patience, empathy, and good humor. Pronto. Anybody know if I can find any of that stuff at Walgreen's or e-Bay, or somewhere?

7 Comments:

  • Just wait until burping becomes sport or they bring home head lice from school or worse yet turn into teenagers. I remember Motrin was my best friend when my children were that age. To sum it up...kids are the best and the worst thing that happen to you. Thanks for the memories and thanks for visiting my blog.

    By Blogger Wendy A, at Wednesday, May 17, 2006 6:37:00 AM  

  • Oh, dear. I am out of patience these days. Glad you were able to find some! It does help. Sorry to hear Liam is under the weather though...

    By Blogger chichimama, at Wednesday, May 17, 2006 7:23:00 AM  

  • I don't know where you can get a stock of patience; there are definitely days when I am running short and would love to find a store.

    But good for you for figuring out what Liam really needed. That kind of detective work can be pretty challenging!

    By Blogger Suzanne, at Wednesday, May 17, 2006 8:13:00 AM  

  • Sure we all lose patience sometimes, but the great love you have for him will always bring it back. You are a terrific Mom and Liam is one lucky young man.
    Love, Gran-Gran

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wednesday, May 17, 2006 8:39:00 AM  

  • Perhaps we can buy the stuff in bulk and divvy it up amongst us? I sometimes thing patience and "parent to a toddler" are mutually exclusive...

    By Blogger Rebecca, at Wednesday, May 17, 2006 1:55:00 PM  

  • The thing about parenting philosophies is that every kid is different, so if you try to follow some set of rules too rigidly, and your kid is not the textbook kid, you will run into trouble.

    I'm sorry Liam's feeling so rotten! And, if you find any patience, could you send some my way?

    By Blogger Piece of Work, at Wednesday, May 17, 2006 5:19:00 PM  

  • Wendy - you mean in some senses this doesn't get easier???

    Gran-Gran - I love you!

    Chichimama, Suzanne, Rebecca, and Amy - if I find this stuff in bulk I'll notify y'all pronto

    By Blogger Liesl, at Wednesday, May 17, 2006 10:08:00 PM  

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