Babies are so innocent. Even when they are crying, screaming, teething, keeping us up all night, they are not meaning anything by it. They are just acting on how they are feeling with no thought of how it might be taxing us.
And even with the most colicky of babies, the moments when they are quiet and peaceful and snuggled in our arms, there is nothing so precious as that little baby breathing her baby breaths.
Then they grow.
And some things start to change.
I have read this stage of 5-7 years old is called a "mini adolescence". Who knew that such a sweet little child would turn into an eye-rolling, arms-crossing, sass-giving person? I certainly did not.
Who knew that it would get under my skin so?
I understand that around this age, kids are playing with how much power do they have in the world. It is not meant to be manipulative. Kids are never intentionally manipulative, they just want what they want and are learning how to get it. And at this stage, this "mini adolescence", I believe they are trying to learn how to be assertive for what they want and more in control of their own lives.
Seriously, what parent wants to feel rejected like this? No one wants to feel like they are infuriating to the people they love most.
But what is a mom to do?
Sure, I can and I do set the boundary that we do not speak to our mothers in that tone. This feedback is part of them learning what is acceptable when asserting themselves. And I know they are not using that tone with teachers, by the way. But if I get too barky, aren't I exhibiting the same behavior I don't want them to exhibit?
I try to stay calm. I try to breathe. I try to model the kind of clear, collected but firm assertiveness I would like to see my children use.
"Try" being the key word here.
I tell myself "This is my training ground for real adolescence."
Then, when my mini-adolescent wants me to lie in bed at night and read a book, I jump at the chance. I let go, for the moment, of all of the things I need to do and clean before I go to bed. And I relish in the gift of us peacefully reconnecting...
...before another day of eye-rolling.
Have a great weekend!
Mom On the Edge