Every parent thinks their child is the greatest thing since sliced bread. However, I think we also have to be realistic.
Maggie Claire is independent, strong willed, outgoing, and social. She loves interacting with other kids and has no concept of personal space. Bless her, she insists on being no more than 2 inches away from whoever she is speaking to or playing with. Quite overwhelming for mellow children who like their own area. She has more energy than the energizer bunny and literally NEVER STOPS. Again, quite overwhelming for mellow children. When I was a child, if a kid like her bombarded me I would look like a deer in headlights too (which is the response most children give her). With that being said, she is also one of the smartest, sweetest, most compassionate, and funny children I have ever known.
While her little personality is hers and I respect and adore her for it, it can cause... well... problems.
Growing up I always imagined I would have a little girl like me. Reserved, somewhat introverted, quiet, and one who appreciates "alone time". Instead, I got my husband reincarnated. We are complete opposites. He and MC are like two peas in a pod. She got every single aspect of his personality. A grown man with those characteristics I can deal with; a two year old - I am clueless.
All of my years in college, student teaching, and actually teaching have been of no use during the terrible two's. (I, like most parents, must convince ourselves that most occurrences are simply part of a stage and will not continue through the rest of their lives. Don't judge- its the only way we stay sane.)
The first issue we are having is with sharing. As mentioned in my "milestone" post, this has become a problem. Is it because she is an only child right now? Is it because she's not in daycare? And the big question on mine and every other mother's mind who deals with this issue - Am I doing something wrong???
Let's face it, even if you are a mom, you judge other mothers by their child's behavior. Its wrong and its mean, but its true. If you go to the park and see a kid running a muck and beating up every other child there, you probably think "Whoa. That woman needs some parenting advice ASAP. She obviously has no concept of discipline..." I'm pretty sure we've all done it at least once. However, when its OUR child who is doing something wrong, we pray the other mother's sympathize and understand we are doing everything we can but our kid is just crazy or going through a phase.
In addition to sharing, MC also has issues controlling her emotions. I like to think she is "passionate", but really its a nice way of saying she has frequent emotional meltdowns - ie tantrums. I know most moms have to deal with this but I never thought I would. When it began, I researched. Oh boy did I research. I have put into practice several ideas and even come up with one or two of my own that seem to help. However, nothing has completely rid us of them. Is it even possible to raise a child who is tantrum free or am I just dreaming the impossible dream?
Just in case one or two readers are dealing with tantrums, I'll share two things that seem to work for MC. One is completely ignoring the behavior by sending her somewhere else to calm down. When the screaming begins, I say "Maggie Claire, no one wants to hear you scream. Its not nice and I can't understand what you need. You need to go to your room and calm down and then I will be happy to talk to you and help you." She then runs to her room, crying hysterically, while I sit and compose my own emotions. She will throw herself on the ground and scream in her room, but when she comes out of her room, she's usually fine. While this works at home, its not ideal for public places.
The other thing that has worked well to keep a tantrum from occurring in the first place is the timer. When she is playing and I know she's going to have to stop what she's doing to do something else (ie bath, go to bed, leave the house, etc) I tell her that we are going to play until the dog barks (gotta love iphone ringers) and then we have to ______. She says ok and keeps playing. When she hears the dog bark, she stops what she's doing and says "Its time to ____!" She gets it and its worked wonders.
While these two techniques have helped, they haven't stopped it. I don't even know if its possible to "stop" them. This is where ideas are welcomed ;)
I said it before and I'll say it again, I adore my child. However, her behavior baffles me and I don't want to be "that mom" everyone talks about at the playground. What do I do with my little girl with the big personality??