Sunday, June 5, 2016

Riding the Roller Coaster of Toddler Emotions

As I raise my kids, ages 3 years and 21 months, I notice that any given day can oscillate rapidly between them being ridiculously cute, to moody, to silly and playful, to screaming in rage, and back to cute again with shocking speed. Sometimes the monster moments and the melt your heart moments come right on top of each other with hardly a breath in between.

I recently stumbled upon this vignette of motherhood and toddlerhood that I wrote about six months ago when Cora, my second kiddo, was 15-months-old. I think it captures the often-overlapping challenges and joys of parenting.


Last night, Cora was a hot mess.

She had napped well in the afternoon -- almost three hours ending at 4:30. However, by 6:30, our little firecracker was completely melting down. There were moments where she bowed low, forehead plastered to the ground screaming. Toddler D-R-A-M-A.

I gave her some space to see if she would just get over it. I tried to hold her. I tried to play with her. Nothing worked, she continued to cry hard. Finally, I took two deep breaths, scooped her up, and began her bedtime routine early.

As I carried her upstairs, brushed her teeth, and gave her a pacifier and blankie she calmed down realizing that bedtime was just around the corner.

I dressed her in striped green and blue second-hand baby boy pajamas. Her hair, now that it was finally released from her top-of-the-head firework hairdo, was loose, sticking up straight and wild. Her dark brown eyes were content and heavy and regularly drooping closed. She held her pacifier in her mouth just below her tiny button nose rhythmically suck, suck, sucking. She clasped her gray bunny blankie with both delicate hands holding it up to her nose, breathing in the smell and feeling the soft, gray fur.

I scooped her tiny body into my lap. I barely felt her there, not because she's so tiny (though she is) but because I am so used to her being there I don't even feel it when she is. We whispered our way through Goodnight Moon.

I pressed her little hands together between my hands like a Cora hands sandwich with Mommy hands bread. I prayed for her and she listened enraptured looking at her hands pressed between mine.

Then, we sang a little song and off she went to sleep without a tear.

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