Looking back on this past summer, we had a lot of great days. But there was some tough stuff in there, too. I can’t define the day, the week, or even the month when it started – but out of no where, Corinne started pushing back. Waking her up in the morning was a huge ordeal. She would cry every time I got her dressed. And all of a sudden she was in hysterics every time it was time for a new diaper. I tried to stay calm during the change of the tide, but on came the mom guilt – what was I doing wrong? Why had my happy-go-lucky girl changed to this toddler who was constantly fighting me?
Then, I realized – our routine had stayed the same for too long, and this little girl was growing up. Every day she was growing up. I am a person very rooted in routine, and I finally realized that life with children equals routines constantly changing as they change. Ouch, was this a hard reality to accept.
So, our family tackled a series of changes that gave Corinne some toddler independence she was desperately seeking. First was potty training. Then it was a “big girl bed” so she could climb in/out by herself. And I started including her in little decisions/tasks in our morning to make her feel part of our routine. I won’t say it was like magic, but these changes definitely made her feel important. Independent. Strong. I won’t ever be mad about my little girl wanting to feel these things!
If you are experiencing tough days or a tough season with your little one, I hope you know you are not alone. The amazing minutes outweigh the bad ones by far, but that doesn’t mean we can’t acknowledge the hard stuff, too. Because it’s the truth. And if you are in that season, here’s what helped me get through to the other side:
Wait until your child or your family is ready – Just like waiting too long can cause frustration, jumping the gun too early can be really tough, too. Listen to your children, your family, and your gut – are you ready for this yet? If you feel like the answer is no, then trust yourself. Just because that mom on Instagram just potty trained her 18-month-old, doesn’t mean you are behind.
Seek really great advice – Who else knows your child just as well as you do? Whether it is your spouse, a grandparent, or a caretaker – ask them if they are on board with the changes you are ready to make. Brian and I always have lots of conversation about Corinne and our family, but I really appreciate the input of Corinne’s teacher, Bonnie, as well. She can tell me she thinks Corinne is ready for something without me feeling pressured to do it right.that.instant. A second opinion always helps you feel confident in your next steps!
Don’t place too much pressure on the situation – Yes, I did research on potty training and transitioning to toddler beds (research in 2015 = Pinterest, am I right?). But in the end, I tried really hard to let the situation be what it would be. Our potty training would not look exactly like the article I read, and that is okay. We made it through, and Corinne was successful in her own way/time.
Patience. Oh, the patience – Allowing your toddler more independence will take more time – that is just a fact. During this time period, Corinne became adamant about putting on her own shoes. By the time I finally arrived at work each morning, every last strand of my patience had already been tested. Over some sparkly Mary Jane shoes. During those moments when I just wanted to dive in and do it myself, I tried to picture Corinne as a 2nd grader. Or a 5th grader. Should I be putting on her shoes for her then? No. When is she going to learn? Now. Oh, but that was hard in the moment 🙂
Being Corinne’s mom has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am so proud of her spunk, her independence, and her joy for life. She teaches me to stop and enjoy the little things, a lesson I desperately needed. And she has taught me a shake up to your routine isn’t always a bad thing – okay, I hear you girl. To the changes to come – bring it on – I’ll be a little more ready for you next time.