Melody is fourteen months today. As we enter the toddler stage, things are both fun and difficult. Several months ago I found myself beginning to say the infamous "no." Since then the frequency of uses had continually increased. I'm fairly certain we haven't reached the peak of the crescendo yet. Each day Melody's coordination improves. She's not just walking now; she's cruising. It's so odd when I'm in the kitchen and all of the sudden she walks around the corner to join me. I feel like I have a teenager! She's also learning how to climb. A few days ago she braved the coffee table. Once on it, she acted like king of the mountain; so proud of herself.
I am struggling as we embark on these toddler activities. I have always heard poeple say, "Choose your battles." I assumed they were cautioning against fighting every single battle with their child. When Melody does something new that I'm not sure about (like the coffee table), I find myself sighing and thinking, "I don't want to fight any battles at all!"
I don't think the reason for my apathy is laziness. I simply don't know HOW to fight a battle. We decided to make the trash can our battle. It is right on her level and she likes to pick things out of it. I have tried repeatedly saying no. She looks at me and does it again. Her face is not showing defiance though. I've tried flicking her hand. She cried, but again, there was no connection. I know people think I'm being too lenient, but I truly don't believe she understands yet. I think it would be easier if she were defiant. Then I would feel okay about being more harsh. As it is, I distract her instead. Now she has started standing by the trashcan and singing, "no no no no no." It's pretty funny. I guess something is starting to click in that little head of hers.
For the first time I feel at a loss about how to be a mom. Caring for her in the first 12 months came easily. I knew what to do and felt comfortable doing it. Now I feel unsure of myself. I'm sure Melody picks up on this insecurity. Could that be why she already obeys Grammy more than me?
I've heard moms say they didn't like the baby stage because they just aren't into babies. Others say the same about toddlers. This logic is strange to me. I am prepared for certain stages to be harder than others, but I want to stay positive while in the midst of each one. Things got really hard (physically) when I was pregnant, but the hardship didn't lessen my joy toward the baby. I want that type attitude to continue as my kid(s) grow and change. At this point, I'm struggling to maintain the joy and ease. I find myself questioning our mother/daughter relationship. (Already!) A couple weeks ago my mom came for a visit. Less than ten minutes after her arrival I was in tears as I explained the trash can drama.
I not only want to learn good techniques in discipline and child rearing; I also want to learn how to keep my joy in the midst of the hard days. Does anyone have stories, book referrals, or suggestions that might help me right now?