Terrible Twos & Other Trials

These past couple weeks have been kind of crazy...but I think I say that every time I write on here. And that's life, isn't it? Homeschooling, family time, children, church, housework and time with friends are my priorities and so my writing usually gets put on hold for them. I would love to write more, or write every other day, even...but I love my family more. A lot of random (and sometimes not so random) things come through my mind as I'm laying down for bed or while I'm in the shower. I always think, "I should blog about that!" But then I fall asleep or a child screams for me or there are chores that need done...you know how it goes. But I do have good intentions. :)

My littlest is going through the Terrible Awful, No Good, Very Bad Twos. Anybody else around here experiencing that? Ah yes, I see by your haggard expressions and frown lines that you have! And those of you who are blissfully unaware of what those are...oh boy, just wait. My son didn't have Terrible Twos. He had Somewhat Rough Threes but his Twos were a breeze for the most part. So I didn't know what people were talking about when they mentioned the TT's. But my littlest, she's a whole other story...
She no longer naps, which I think is a major factor in her little TT mood swings. She refuses to nap. I've tried every little thing I can think of - reading stories or doing something quiet before nap time, rocking her, singing to her - but nothing works. I try to lay her down for a nap and she screams, throws things, yells for me, the whole nine yards. Some kiddos will do that for just a short while and then fall asleep...not Ellie. The only time she will nap is if we happen to be in the car driving when she's tired. Anyway, once she gets overly tired from not napping, then she turns into Demon Baby - jumping on (and off) of stuff, hitting her brother, running around like a wild child, etc. She's also really been into fun stuff like testing all the boundaries, smacking people and repeating every little thing she hears, good OR bad.
I don't mean to go on and on about all that, though - she's not like that 24/7. (If she was, I'd have a lot less hair and a heavy drinking problem.) She is still very sweet and loving most of the time. I think as parents (and probably as people in general) we're more comfortable obsessing and going on about the negative things because they confuse, frustrate and just annoy the heck out of us. But we can't get so caught up in the bad times that we forget about all those good moments too. Everybody always tells you, "it's just phase" or "it'll pass" or the best one, "you're going to miss this!" Those things are true but not really that helpful at the time. I had someone tell me "you're going to miss that" the other day as Ellie was crying and Zeke was whining. I didn't say anything but I thought to myself...here, you take them for awhile! I'd love to miss it NOW!
The more I think about it, though - there is a lot of truth to those statements. When my husband lost his job, he was unemployed for a year before finding work. People thought we would (or should) be devastated and going nuts while he was out of work but honestly, it was a real learning experience for us. The kids and I both loved having him free to join us in whatever we were doing and I feel like we grew more tightly-knit as husband & wife, and as a family. I do look back and miss all the time we got to spend together. But that's not to say that it was all sunshine and roses, though either. A major lack of funds, the ongoing stress of searching for work, the "too much togetherness" that occasionally struck...it was definitely challenging and frustrating at times.
Alright, so regardless of whether I'll miss the crappy moments from my life or not, I've been trying a new tactic. Whenever Ellie is having a TT moment, I try to think of something about her that makes me smile. For instance, I love sitting and going through my makeup bag with her - she pretends to put on makeup with all the little brushes and (thankfully, clear) lip balms and it's just so stinkin' cute. She will sit for practically forever on my lap to get her hair brushed after she gets out of the bath tub. Her little *gasp* of surprise at anything new can always put a smile on my face. She loves learning and is so eager to do whatever her brother is doing in school. Hearing her sing, "We will, we will, wock you!" with specially added sound effects would make anyone chuckle. She's simply adorable and I love her.
Now I don't want anyone to think that I just do the tango through all of my children's tantrums and fits with a smile pasted on my face...but thinking about the good things really helps me to control my anger and not lose my patience. It really does help me to put stuff in perspective. And when you're being backhanded by a two year old, you can use a LOT of perspective. :)

"Lost time is never found again."  ~ Benjamin Franklin

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