Thursday, April 19, 2012

Toddler Activities and the Terrible Twos

I have been feeling like a terrible mother to Wade for a couple months now. The end of the pregnancy, week 36 - 42+, I was worthless. Seriously exhausted and barely able to move because of swelling in my lower limbs. I couldn't get on the floor and play with Wade or do much of anything. We did cuddle a lot though and I will always remember that time as special because Wade wasn't a cuddly baby.

When Ethan arrived the baby needed me right away with nursing issues. The nursing issues set into motion a whirlwind of three weeks of stress and appointments. On top of it I had some health complications from the birth that was making my recovery more difficult. Wade would cry for me and I couldn't just put Ethan down to pick Wade up. It broke my heart. Once again, I was spending zero time with Wade. I felt like Wade and my relationship was slipping away.

During my third trimester of the pregnancy, Wade started to experience some real and ugly terrible two behavior. Major tantrums (Wade wasn't really a crier and was pretty compliant before this) the kind that made Gary and I look at each other and wonder if our son had been replaced by a two headed monster. This was followed more recently by lots of "no". It didn't help that Wade's sleep schedule was shot and he was exhausted, off schedule, emotionally I was pretty unavailable, and there was lots of new adjustments.

Still dealing with Wade's attitude started to wear on me. I don't like the attitude of the teenager in the house and I constantly worry about "nipping in the bud" Wade's attitudes before he reaches out of control teenager. Molding a young heart is truly important for their lasting character. Add sleep deprivation of myself and a major cold to the mix and the beginning of this week was more than rocky. I was most definitely the mother I never, ever want to be. Short tempered, yelling at Wade, and I even smacked his butt once (he was being very, very bad) but with anger in my heart and I never, ever want to discipline out of a place of anger. I am not sure who was crying more. Wade or myself. I hated this version of mother and felt completely out of control. Now I was the two headed monster.

I had to make some changes fast. First, I had to ask for forgiveness (from God and family) and then forgive myself. Remembering I was sick and tired literally I focused on rest and healing. I also made sure to continue to focus of scripture verses. Second, I decided that I needed to daily find something for myself that was more than a hot shower. Third, I dedicated myself to being more creative with Wade. That even if it seemed like extra work to find a simple project daily to have him participate with even if it was making lunch or doing dishes but a time to let him play and explore and learn new things. I want to raise a creative child and I need to encourage creativity. One more thing, I had already decided that this week would be a week without appointments for myself or the kids. No lactation appointments, etc. Ethan and I would focus on nursing and Wade and I would focus on our relationship.

What a difference! I am happier, Wade is happier, and Ethan is just fitting so nicely into our lives. I feel happiness coming back into our lives and joy back to my heart. It was really looking rocky for a couple days.

Activity one:
Alphabet magnets - a dollar purchase that gave me several minutes of entertainment. Although Wade wasn't ready to put them ON the refrigerator. Instead he would rip them OFF. Until play is less destructive they are stored in a jar in the pantry closet. I would go insane trying to pick them off the floor everyday.

Activity two:
Classic Play Dough Recipe
I loved playing with play dough as a child. My mom had a great recipe. This one I believe is similar but not as wonderful as I remember it. I will have to look up that old recipe. In the mean time this project was great. Wade helped at the sink making his own "dough" while I made the actual play dough. Lots of sensory play. Then he played with his trucks with the play dough.

Activity three:
Rainbow Rice
I really loved this project and yes it can be messy in the house. I accept that and just vacuum and sweep up the mess. So far this project has been entertaining for the longest amount of time. I experimented with Great Northern beans as well and the dyeing wasn't as successful. I would like to try with small pasta as well. Also, I used liquid water colors I had for coloring and rubbing alcohol (but in lesser amounts than suggested). I would like to make a bin of "rainbow" colors. It was fun for both of us.

I am looking forward to more activities with Wade. I have to channel that energy as I train him past tantrums and "no". He really is an awesome kid.

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