There is a lot of talk about the word "big" around our house these days. Whether we are talking about how big kids use the potty, or praising "What a big boy!" for picking up toys, that word gets used a lot. There has been such a focus that now
my two-year-old only wants "a big snack" or "a big juice" and is quick to clarify if I have used any other description. There are no "little" references made unless we are talking about the baby. In our efforts to make a clear distinction between big and little - which has clearly caught on - we have attempted to instill in our little guy the desire to be big which therefore leads to acting big - or so this is our thought in our grand attempt to enjoying and surviving the terrible twos.
Not only has my two-year-old got caught up with this notion of "big", but I myself have spent so much time talking about it and promoting it that much like my little guy's expectation of what a really great treat would be described as, I too, have come to develop "big" expectations of him. Whether it is following the simple commands to please get in the car or to put your cup in the sink, I have established in my mind the expectation that the command should be followed not only immediately, but without resistance. In most cases, it is now with minimal persuading. This is the result of continuous parental effort in direction of how to not only accomplish the task, but to do so quickly. However, there are those moments when I am baffled that the outcome I have come to presume is a far cry from the reality at hand. My little guy instead ignores, resists or just blatantly refuses. This of course is frustrating given the history of what has in the past been a rather smooth procedure. I am frustrated because it feels like all the time and effort gone into teaching how to accomplish the process of achieving the goal, and feeling success because of repeated successful outcomes, is a waste. What I had thought was an established procedure, is proven otherwise as the task is only accomplished with force, frustration and sometimes tears - in some cases from both parties.
What I had originally thought was the cause of my frustration in these matters - my two-year-old choosing not to mind- I have discovered is actually my "big" expectations. Our house has been on such a rapid growth of development concerning "big" that I had let myself get caught up in the excitement and I confused the line between what we as parents are trying to teach, and what I had come to expect. I did not come to the realization that my expectations were not realistic on my own...I had some spiritual assistance -in the form the simple phrase "My two babies". This was exactly what I needed to remember and continually remind myself of everyday in order to relieve my growing discouragement. "My two babies". The depth of this concept is that even while I attempt to discern between big and little and that the two-year-old is often times in the "big" category, I in fact still have two babies. Dennis the Menace states it clearly when asked why he asks so many questions, "I have only been around for five years...there is a lot that I don't know." How true for my two-year-old. There is a lot that he does not know and how fair is it for me to expect what he has not yet had time to fully learn.
As I ponder the concept of "My two babies", I think about what I expect from my infant, the demeanor I allow her as I recognize what she is capable of and what she is obviously not as a result of her little age. I hold nothing against her - even the smelliest of diapers or the cranky interruptions of the night. I simple love her as I recognize her innocence and know she will learn in time all that will be expected of her. So this concept and deserved patience, I have recently been reminded of rings true for my two-year-old as well. There is, however, a blurry line I think as the situation is complicated by my attempt to teach the desired behavior. When there is success, it feels like the instruction has taken hold and that all parties are ready to move on to the next stage. An expectation has been created and therefore becomes desired and expected. When that expectation is not met or the opposite occurs, it feels like a digression. Through reminding myself that I in fact have two babies, I have been able to recognize that just because success was achieved once does not mean that the lesson is learned. There perhaps is still a lot of practice left to undergo before I can expect the same result every time and during that practice - that used to be highly disheartening - I need to give the same deserved patience as I would my infant recognizing the innocence of a two-year-old that is sometimes overshadowed by loud resistance.
And so I aspire to remind myself daily of the concept of "My two babies". I even say it aloud as I hug them both together. This has allowed me not only a gentle understanding of the importance of thorough teaching in moments that used to be frustrating, but also a new found patience as I try to recognize the reality of my little guy's capabilities and how that may contradict my "big" expectations. It is funny how just changing my perspective on a situation can take it from almost completely devastating to not just bearable, but actually enjoyable. Kids grow up too quickly as it is. Why not allow them to be small, not excusing their actions, but taking the chance to reteach what is apparently not yet instilled. There is plenty of time for my boy to be big. So for now, I will do a reality check on my own expectations and keep in mind that we all are still learning - even me - and just remember that I in fact have "My two babies".
Posted by Sabrina @ Hiccupsinmyhair