Friday, May 14, 2010


I've never been known to be particularly patient, but teaching forced me to work on that. These days I'm getting plenty of practice opportunities with my toddler. She's officially reached the "terrible twos." And it is amazing, the anger and frustration she can express at the tiniest little thing that's not going her way.

What seems to bother her the most is when there's something she wants to be able to do, but can't quite manage. Or when we tell her there's something she can't do, and she really wants to do it. Often the two overlap. Like yesterday. We'd had a fine morning, though both still sick after a week of congestion and fatigue. But then all of a sudden, as I got up to get some water, things went down hill from there. She too wanted water, but then changed her mind to "juuuch,"and she wanted it from a grownup glass, carried by one hand, while walking or preferably running around the house, into the bathroom, for instance, so she could drink and pee in her potty at the same time. I compromised and gave her an adult hard plastic cup and told her to use both hands and keep it in the kitchen. You could just tell from the immediate mischievous look on her face, that this was play time.

The worst thing to do under these circumstances, is to loose one's patience (I'm learning). Of course I did. To my many and loud Norwegian "NOS!" she grinned widely already swinging her glass around one handedly. I approached her, but too fast, to sternly; it was all the thrill she needed to take off into yet another chasing game. In return, we had juice all over the floor and all over her and an exasperated mama but a still pretty giddy baby.

Then later in the day it's papa's turn. This time she insists on a straw in her juice. Now you might think, great!, she'll suck on it as from one of her suck-sippy cups that one must not tilt when drinking from. Wrong. While sucking on the straw, she also tilts her glass down as if it were a classic water bottle, and for a moment she's in a shower of red smoothie juice, raining all over her and the floor.

This is very frustrating to papa (and mama, had I been there to see it). And to Lilly.

By dinner time, she's had enough of things not going her way. With a gesture that reminds me of cowboys clearing saloon tables in old movies, she clears out the kitchen table with her right arm, chips, salsa, cups with water and juice all over the floor.

So there's a lot of deep breathing going on in our home these days as we try not to snap. Sometimes modeling yoga breathing to my daughter seems to calm her, and sometimes she picks up on it, and it works. Until the next meltdown.

All of this, and we still haven't had a first real temper tantrum with all of her writhing down on the floor, arms and legs flailing. But we had bouts of hysteric crying that's shut off as soon as it's turn on.

And then to think we have "the age of spite," as the Norwegians call it, to look forward to when she turns three. I guess that's when she'll really be testing boundaries, doing all sorts of things to spite us.

No wonder there's clenched jaws and tense muscles in this house.

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