Sleep is one thing. One very good thing. But then there is what happens when we are awake: There is whining and crying and screaming, or there is clinging and whimpering and cowering. Ingrid is a wreck so much of the time. It’s hard to describe, hard to sort out what it all comes from. I feel like I used to get what was going on with her, even when she was being irrational and loud, and now I just don’t. A lot of the time it makes no sense. This lack of resilience. This extreme shyness: grabbing my hand and pressing it against the side of her face as we walk together anywhere public. I don’t want to say hi to anyone. These strange demands: Some different clothes. Another snack. And, for God’s sake, even if it’s cold out, No coat. No coat. NO COAT!
The early childhood class that we take has turned on a few lightbulbs. A list of behaviors common to two-year-olds: Have trouble choosing between two options. Are dictatorial and want to be in control. Live in the moment and have trouble imagining other times and places.
And, on a list of principles for parents to live by: Learn to trust struggle and disequilibrium.
I know a lot of problems come with this age, but some days it is really hard to believe I’m not causing this. Am I giving in to her tantrums? Am I making her insecure by not meeting some emotional need? Is it horrible that I’m not using time outs? There are certain things I expect of her, and consequences when they’re not met, but often enough? Consistently enough? Or am I expecting too much? I don’t know. I don’t know. Some days things seem a little better: I feel more creative, better able to get through the thousand sticky wickets of each hour and really look her in the eye. Other days are like today.