Madi's getting the age now where she's communicating SO much. She's not a baby anymore speaking in two-word phrases with a seemingly simplistic outlook and list of wants and needs. She has opinions, desires, and motivations. She knows what she wants and she voices that, openly. But with all of that comes some conflicting moments.
I guess it comes with being two and a half, but she will do anything just to see what my reaction will be. When she was eating lunch earlier, she looked up at me for a moment, then looked away and dipped her entire fist into her glass of milk and then pulled her hand out and let it drip beside her onto the floor. That look was, "I wonder what she'll do if I do THIS!" I can pretty much identify the look and catch it before she has a chance to act out. Sometimes it's nothing "bad" that she's doing. At the Museum the other day, she shot me that same look before standing on top of something and jumping off. It was about a foot off of the ground and made for kids to play on. She laughed and celebrated jumping off without falling down. Sometimes the look is her wondering how I will react, and sometimes it is just to make sure she's got my attention.
Either way, with her new personality blossoming, communication has been vital. Madi absolutely hates getting ready for bed. She hates to pick up her toys, she doesn't like to get her pajamas on, and she definitely doesn't like brushing her teeth. Every night, she stalls her little heart out and completely avoids those tasks. In an effort to make things more smoother, I started to set boundaries. I tell her that if she doesn't do these three things, she doesn't get to read a book before I turn the light out. Usually, this is enough for her to get those things done. She has a goal in mind and will do the things I ask of her.
But not tonight. She ran away from me, told me NO!, and even hid in the other room when she saw I had her pajamas in my hand ready for her to put them on. I told her again that she wouldn't get to read her books if she didn't listen to me, yet she still wouldn't cooperate. So, she didn't get to read. I hate when she goes to bed upset, but that's part of being a parent. You can't always be a pushover and be their friend.
Once I tucked her into bed and she settled down, we talked. I told her that she has to listen to me and do what she is told so that we can read. If she doesn't get the necessary things done in a timely manner, we won't have time to read and sing songs. I worded it of course a little differently but I could tell that she understood what I was saying. Physically, she relaxed. She said, "I'll listen to you, Mommy. I promise." Then she grabbed my hand, laid her head down on her pillow, and closed her eyes. Having that calm conversation about why she didn't get to read calmed her down and allowed her to comprehend what happened, and hopefully let her know how to change what happens in the future.
Those little conversations we have about the "why?" are so important now. She understands that in order to do the things we WANT to do, we have to do the things that are necessary first. Her growing curiousity for how things work, and also consequences of her actions, are slowly forming in her head. She's a strong-hearted little girl, and she's learning new things constantly, but boy am I learning from her too.
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