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Ever heard of “terrible two’s“? I haven’t until I moved here in Hawaii and my son turned from a tiny, behaved baby to a running, jumping 2 year old. Then, truths a about raising a child becomes even more real to me.
I adore my son and he’s the best thing that ever happened to me, but, let’s be honest, taking care of a toddler is far from a walk in the park. There are still a lot of things I know I will discover but this post lists down some of the major realizations I gathered so far.
1. Toddlers are expensive.
They outgrow clothes and shoes too fast. The want toys all the time, toys they end up not playing with. Kaleb picks up toys more expensive than I needed to get everytime we go to Ross’ and most of the time we buy it. Why? Because they are kids and at this moment, I don’t expect him to want books than toys, but I’m working on that.
2. Toddlers choose their best buddy parents.
I feel like as the mother who carried him in my belly for 9 months, I should be his favorite person in the whole wide world. But that’s not the case. Daddy is his best buddy and there are times that he shamelessly rub it on my face.
3. Feeding them is a hit and miss game.
We just never know what he would want to eat for the day. He loves Pho soup and rice but only when we eat in a Vietnamese resto, if I make soup and rice at home, he ignores it. He recently just got over eating oatmeal in the morning. There are nights when all he wants to eat are chips and juice, other times its celery. The bottom line is, Dennis and I accepted that at this point he eats wants he wants and what’s important is he’s eating.
4. You are manipulated without realizing it.
Parents think we always have a upper hand in dealing with our toddlers but I’m beginning to discover that’s not always the case. Kaleb just knows when, how and how much charm to use to get me to do what he wants or give in. When he grins at me in the middle of scolding instead of crying, I’m done.
5. They say it when they want to and not when they are asked to.
We try hard to teach our kids early on how to say thank you and sorry. Manners should be inculcated at a young age or atleast we try. But it just doesn’t happen. I urge my son to say thank you, he just wouldn’t. But when I didn’t expect it, he just spits it out after giving him his water and in such a cute, loving voice. One thing I’m sure is that toddlers absorb everything and when they are ready they will say it.
6. You need to change tactics often than you are capable of.
Raising kids is a game of schemes and tactics. From rewarding to feeding, to imposing rules and discipling. One strategy doesn’t always work on them because they either adapt to it or ignore it. I try to teach Kaleb that when you do something wrong, there could be a consequence, so I give him “time outs”. Not all the time so that when I do it still means something to him. Theres also the concept of warnings where I let him know when he is nearing the end of the rope but still has a chance to stop. Then theres the choices and this one only works when Dennis does it. If we want Kaleb to do something and he is being difficult, his dad asks him if he wants to do it “the easy way or the hard way“. Easy is he obeys us or hard is we do it for him but its not going to be fun. One time I tried to do it and said, “Do you want to do it the easy way or hard way?”, he said “runaway“, then he ran.
7. They know what they have in their arsenal.
Cuteness, charm, tears, pouting of the lips, kisses and hugs and tantrums are my child’s means of turning things and situations and sometimes get him out of trouble. It’s hard to keep a straight face when you are in the middle of scolding him and he kisses you and hugs you. Oh boy, he does know how.
8. The favorite word is “no…”.
I like how Kaleb uses different tones of saying no to convey what he means. He used to say no too when he means yes, now he uses “ey!” with hands up in the air. But No is his staple word.
9. If you don’t potty train them early enough, you’re late.
I’m admittedly clueless how to train him to go “doo-doo” and “shi-shi” in bathroom. Hence, my amazement to those parents who trained their toddlers early on. I feel like we’re late in doing that.
10. They do exactly what you tell them not to do.
Not only do they do exactly the opposite but they find it amusing. If I tell Kaleb to not pick up crumbs from the floor, he will slowly do it and then run away. Then he gets a time out, so mommy still has the last laugh. 🙂
11. Reverse psychology doesnt always work on them but they work on you.
Because our kids study us as much as we study them, sometimes reverse psychology is useless. When I do that Kaleb just ignores me which tells me it’s time to shift gears.
Needless to say, I’m fascinated by Kaleb and what goes on in raising him. It’s a ensemble of love, discipline, humor and patience to get through it. Toddler years, as I’m beginning to discover, is a golden time for parents because in these years, we get to see our kids wonderful development as they unlock skills after another and their personalities start to blossom.
To me, motherhood is my cup of tea. I love every bits of it even if there are times Kaleb makes me want to pull my hair.
It is all worth it.