Updated: Dec 6, 2020
If you didn’t just sing the Usher song because of the title of this post, I’m not sure we can be friends any longer…
Confession: my tiny tot is testing my patience and I don’t know how much longer I can hold out. Repeats, “When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it's our job to share our calm, not to join their chaos,” over and over and over. Woosah.
This week especially, Addison has been melting down over what I feel like are the smallest things. Clearly, that’s not how she feels about them or she wouldn’t be melting down. See: big little feelings.
I haven’t quite figured out why these things seem to set her off so easily outside of her sheer determination to do things herself and to be fiercely independent. I know this determination and independence is going to serve her well in her future, so I am doing my best to let her navigate through it all. But my god, after the fifth meltdown in just as many minutes, it is a true act of self-control to keep it together.
Take for instance, today. Seemingly in a good mood, until she’s not. But isn’t that the way toddlerhood (totlerhood… Is that a thing?) goes?
Today, she fell apart while helping me feed the dogs. She loves helping me grab their bowls and dump the food in them. Well, today, she missed one of the bowls and some of the food fell on the ground.
I have never, and hear me when I say NEVER, gotten onto her for a mess or a spill or a whoops. When things like this happen, I just say, “oops, that’s okay! We’ll just clean it up.” And move on with what we’re doing. I consistently spill water when I am drinking it and walk into doorways to knock things out of my hands. It’s no one’s fault, and she doesn’t need to be punished for getting her mama’s clumsy.
Well, today when she spilled, I said, “Oops! No worries baby, we’ll just have Moose (our golden retriever) come clean it up.”
That was not good enough for her. She lost it. She melted down and I couldn’t tell if it was because she felt like she was going to get in trouble, or if she was mad at herself for not getting it “right.” You know that sheer determination thing? She gets that from her daddy honestly, so I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this was just a character trait.
I consoled, we cleaned up, we moved on. Everything seemed to be fine until right before nap time.
We sat on the couch together reading a couple of books (Sweet Neighbors Come in All Colors being one of them) before it was time to start moving toward a nap. After we would finish one book, Addison would hop off the couch and toddle to her room to grab her next one.
Then, it was time to do a nap. I decided to go use the bathroom beforehand (I’ve got wicked IBS, y’all. If you don’t know what it is, google it) and Addison decided she wanted to follow me in there. Nothing new about that. Except she decided that she needed every single one of the books that she had picked for us to read together to come with her. Literally, no book left behind, they were ALL coming.
From the bathroom in our room, I could hear Addison melting down in the living room, but I had no idea why. It was her angry cry, you know the cry, and she wasn’t coming to find me, so I knew she was trying to do something she couldn’t and was getting frustrated. I kept calling out to her to get her to me to see what was wrong, but she refused to abandon her books for consolation.
Eventually, she did. And when she came to the bathroom, snot running down her face from how legitimately upset she was, she just laid her little head down on my lap. She was not crying, there were no tears, so I knew that she was mad about something. I calmed her down, still not knowing, but thought we were past it.
Once I finished up in the restroom and we made our way to the living room, Addison spotted the books laying on the ground and immediately went to gather them up. And then I knew exactly what happened. She managed to get all of them in her little arms, but once she started walking, they dropped to the floor, one by one. She lost it all over again. See now, fiercely independent? She wouldn’t let me help, she wanted to do it herself. But her body wasn’t allowing her to, and she was M-A-D.
I love her fire. But today, her fire bit back. Her independence and her determination ended up being the reason that she was so upset at several points throughout the day. I am trying to remind myself that she is young, that she is learning, that she will need me to guide her through these big little feelings and show her that it’s okay to ask for help.
In the meantime, on days like today, I will mentally drink a big glass of wine and try to be one with her fire. Send help, my girl is fierce and desperately trying to teach herself how to move mountains.