I have my last guest post for you today! I’ve been following Amanda’s blog for a few years now and I’ve enjoyed watching her son grow. She shares some great thoughts with us today.
Amanda is a full time working mom of a VERY active toddler, born in 2010. She has been the wife of an Army National Guardsman since 2008. Originally from Michigan, she traded Mid-West living for big city life in 2000 when she moved to NYC. Currently living in New Jersey, she is balancing her full time job, keeping her family in order, and preparing for their first deployment later this year. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, cuddling with her kitties, cross stitch, photography, and blogging. You can find her at The Calm Before the Storm.
Patience is the Most Important Virtue
When being a parent that is... We’ve all heard the comments about how you never knew you could love someone so much until you have children. Since the birth of our son, Marshall, in 2010 I am definitely not going to dispute that claim. But, what I have found is one of the most important things I’ve learned since The Marsh joined our little family is you need a whole lot of patience! And yes, I’ve found myself humming the song by Guns ‘n’ Roses many times over the past few months.
When Marshall was in the 0 – 12 month age range, I kept thinking “Well this is a piece of cake!” He was so easy to handle, did everything I wanted him to do, and was generally in a good mood all the time. Marshall turned 1 on October 30th, 2011. The fact that the next day was Halloween seemed appropriate because that seemed to be the turning point when Zombie Baby started to appear!
Out of the blue, he started biting people. I bruise fairly easily so my arms literally looked like someone had beat me with a stick thanks to all the bite marks. And it only got worse from there. Marshall has a pretty strong personality so when he doesn’t get his way, Zombie Baby comes out! In addition to the biting there is now pinching, head butting, pushing, throwing, hitting, kicking, and screaming. I’ve been told that he might be going through his terrible twos a bit early. Of course he is! So now, all we can do is ignore him while he has his little meltdown and then, usually within a couple of minutes he is fine and forgot what he was screaming about in the first place.
So, that being said, a few things I’ve learned about patience and the Zombie Baby:
1. When you tell him “no”, he will look right at you and do it anyway. All you can do is just reiterate over… and over… and over… and over what he isn’t supposed to be doing.
2. Try to refrain from reacting to the tantrums. I’ve found that the more I react, the more crazy he gets because now he’s getting all of my attention. And, in reality, isn’t that what they really want in the end?
3. There is no use in getting upset when he takes his bowl full of pasta and marinara sauce and flips it over onto the floor. Apparently this is normal toddler behavior… who knew? We just try to keep an eye on him and sprint for the bowl when we see it lifted above his head. Sometimes we miss and sometimes our white cat ends up with marinara all over his head.
4. Don’t get too embarrassed when the tantrum is happening in the middle of your supermarket. If there are other parents around, they won’t judge because they’ve been there. And, for the people who do judge, someday they’ll be in the same spot watching their kid have a tantrum and realize there isn’t much you can do about it. I usually just let him sit in the middle of the floor and have his meltdown. After a few minutes he’s fine and we can move on.
5. You’ll learn to recognize the differences between a true meltdown and one that is happening because he is tired. If Marshall has missed his nap or has had a lot of activity during the day, when we put him in bed while he is having his screaming fit, he is usually asleep within a few minutes. Unfortunately, I, too, am usually asleep within a few minutes right along side of him J
People will always focus on the bad or challenging aspects of a situation. In my own opinion, watching Marshall grow up everyday definitely outweighs the trying times when Zombie Baby makes an appearance. Just to name a few:
1. The excitement he has when we pick him up from day care.
2. How fascinated he is with every little thing put in front of him.
3. He loves to give hugs and kisses.
4. Baths are awesome!
5. His favorite thing to do in the evenings is help feed the kitties and put the recyclables in their bins.
6. He loves to cuddle on the sofa with a good bottle of milk.
7. When he wants to bring us something he will hold out his hand and say “stay” so we don’t move before he’s ready for us.
8. He has to sit on Daddy’s lap and help back the car out of its parking spot before we can put him in his car seat.
9. One of his favorite games is to point at a group of objects, and say “no” to everything we point at.
10. The other day he was looking in a mirror and then turned around as it checking out his behind! Good thing he has a cute little behind!
While I don’t want my baby to grow up because it is happening way too fast, I’m excited to watch him learn and grow over these next few years. In the end, not only do you need to have the patience to handle the craziness of raising kids, but you also have to have the patience to recognize and enjoy all the good things that come with the bad.