I was at the park on Saturday–a beautiful late afternoon just before dinner. Ty discovered the joys of climbing trees. In the midst of the park was one particularly, easy to climb pine tree. The low sturdy branches were like monkey bars and there were plenty of little monkeys in this tree. One by one most of them lost interest or were called away by their parents, all except one little girl who was about a year older that T. Since T gravitates towards little girls he was on her heals climbing away. Each time he approached her, she would growl at him sort of threateningly, warning him to stay away.
Like the little girl, I spent most of this last weekend growling at my son. The weekend was hard on both of us, check that, all three of us. Our little friend has thrust his terrible-two-ness upon us. I don’t think I was prepared for who he was going to become. I don’t like the ways of this new little creature, but worse, I absolutely don’t like who I have become. The feeling of parenting being fun and something I felt confident about was heaved out the window. I reacted, raised my voice, and made angry face at him. I didn’t like it, not one little bit. What’s worse, my reactions didn’t really phase him, and in fact may have helped intrigue him to continue being oppositional. It was difficult to even complete the easiest of tasks.
What’s worse, while all of the oppositional, contrariness is happening, he also doesn’t seem to need me as much right now and that is taking some getting used to. While I love that he plays a bit more independently and playtime doesn’t require a resident parent involved in the action, I am having to get used to the fact that he doesn’t necessarily want to play with me as much. To top it off, it’s all coming after the fantastic road trip we took the other weekend to New York where none of this was going on.
I know that we are moving on to another phase of development and I don’t yet have a grasp of it. I think this post and the fact that I’m recognizing it for what it is, is a start. He isn’t being naughty, disobedient, forgetting everything that we ever taught him. He isn’t disrespecting us, or the dogs or our house or his toys. He is developing. Just like walking, talking and everything else that we have relished being witness to, this part of development is just as important. It is hard to see that in the midst of flying food, contrary behaviors, and “no-Papa” responses at every turn. I am learning and developing as a parent. In this new phase I am learning that he may need a little more leeway to explore, to be more independent, confident, even defiant. And I am learning to loosen up a little and to lose the angry face. It doesn’t become me.