She’s Just Two Emotional

by Alison Friedman in Marvelous Madelyn, Mommy's Musings

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but toddler words filled with rage and angry beady eyes and snot stains on the cheeks with wild mane-hair and blood-boiled skin freakin’ HURT me.

I know, I know: Madelyn is two-and-an-almost-half and is still learning to process her feelings. I know all this. But it doesn’t make the hard days any easier. Or give me less of a reason to exile myself to the Four Seasons and order room service and a masseuse. I really can’t complain, as Madelyn has always been so super easy, so I realize I can’t win ’em all. She’s going through her own self discovery, but I can’t help but wonder if I’m doing something wrong or if I could handle situations differently.

Top 5 Phrases Madelyn Utters These Days:

1. “I don’t waaaaaaaaaant to!”

2. “Go A-WAAAAY!”

3. “No touch! No touch!”

4. “No, IIIIIIII do it!”

5. “Where’s Daddy?????????? WHERE’S %$*&@!# DADDY?????????”

So yeah, thanks a lot, speech therapy.

She seriously goes from 0 to 100 in point two seconds, which seems a lot faster than what sports car commercials seem to claim. This is seriously something that happens 32 times a day when Madelyn wants to watch the toddler cult classic, Frozen:

Madelyn: Fo-zen.
Mommy: OK, Madelyn. How do you ask nicely?
Madelyn: Fo-zeeeeeeen. (four seconds later.) FOOOOO-ZEEEEEN. (two seconds later with a punch to my bicep for added effect) FOOOOOOOOOOOOO-ZEEEEEEEEN (burst into tears! Because! No! Patience!)

Cue more tears, lots of wailing, and a face that resembles an angry Kool Aid mascot.

Then, eventually like… hmmm… after 35 minutes of biting sobs that make her lose her breath, I’ll get:
Mommy: Yes, Madelyn?
Madelyn: Can I watch Frozen please?
Mommy: Yes, of course! Thank you for asking nicely!

THEN, as sweet as this transition is, she’ll become unreasonably upset that a song is over or the pillow fell on her elbow or she dropped her baby doll. And it all starts over. The tears. The gasps. The snot. It’s just so much fun.

So on days like today, when I came home from a day of work and experienced three hours of incessant tantrums before we finally put her to bed, I ask myself first, “Why don’t I get to work 24 hour days? Does school HAVE to end? Aren’t teachers supposed to sleep at school in the classroom?” and second, “When can we go back to a time when Madelyn was happy-go-lucky instead of giving drama to her mama?”

I’ve been lucky to be a stay-at-home mom with a very light and flexible work schedule. I appreciate the days I get to go to work because, even as a teacher, I still get to interact and socialize with adults and stimulate some intellect. While working is definitely for me, it is also for our household. With our new house and new expenses, the teacher money — while it isn’t anything grand — helps with the extras, so my time away from the house is, in effect, for Madelyn. So when I come home from a day of work and then encounter the mood and ‘tude as of late, I feel frustrated and dejected. I know I need to be handling this better for myself because Madelyn just needs to grow and develop through this stage. So really, it’s about me learning to not take her antics personally.

While we get through this stage, I’d like to be a more patient mom and grow some thicker skin. I don’t think it’s ever OK to be her punching bag because I want to model for her that I respect myself and, therefore, so should she, but I also can’t let her actions and words make me feel sad or unloved.

When Madelyn finally asked nicely to watch Frozen, and I happily put it on for her, she ended up setting into the sofa right next to me and rested her hand on my leg, tapping her fingers on my jeans to the beat of the music.

I whispered, “I love you, Madelyn” and welcomed her back.

Madelyn on swing