Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Frustrated Nanny

I am frustrated.


Not mad just frustrated.


Like throw my hands-up, walk away, bury myself in a good book and don't come out until Bear is 5 frustrated.


Not at him but at myself.

Can I let you in on a secret? A horrible secret? At times I really don't like toddlers.

I like babies, little kids, teenagers, and adults but toddlers scare me so much that I don't like them. I love Bear more than I thought would ever be possible and am so extremely blessed to spend my days with him. My heart bursts when he runs up and squeezes my leg with a "big hug". I melt when he wraps his little arms around my neck just to say "I love you".  Today I couldn't hold in my laughter when Bear grabbed my face and pulled me in for the biggest sloppiest kiss ever. I love him so stinking much.

Yet I really just don't like him at times. Like when he hides behind the bushes for 10 minutes refusing to come out. A bush that has a billion honey bees buzzing around it, the only bush I will NEVER go behind because of all the honey bees. I don't like him when for the 20th time in a minute he asks "what's that" and I truly have no response for him, because apparently every explanation I have given him wasn't enough. Oh the "NO NO NO...MINE MINE MINE". Ugh!! I really don't like him then.

Last night as I lay wide awake for the 3rd night in a row trying to process my emotions one question kept rolling around in circles. "Why don't I like toddlers? What nitty gritty deep down reason don't I like them for?" Then like pole that Bear threw at me yesterday it hit me: I like control and you can't control toddlers.

Yup, toddlers are uncontrollable. You can teach them, train them, tie them down, put a TV show on or shove treats in front of them all day but you still can't control them. Bear is living proof. In truth he is great kiddo. For the most part he is well behaved, he generally listens, sleeps well, and has a sweet disposition. Still he is totally uncontrollable; not in an out of control way. As I sat this morning again trying to coax him out from behind that bee infested bush I knew that I would never win that battle until he was good and ready to come out.

The other reason I don't like toddlers is I can't understand their why's. As soon as the big 2 hit I no longer was able to grasp fully what Bear was thinking. With Bug it is easy, when he cries it is because he is hungry, tired, poopy, or wants to held. When Bear whines it is because he is frustrated...but at what??? It could be something that happened two seconds ago or 2 days ago and he wants me to read his mind or understand his toddler talk (one in the same at this point). I just can't. This time I want to pull my hair out in frustration. Then I get even more frustrated because I am so frustrated. It is a viscous cycle that needs to end.

I finally realize, it is not toddlers that I don't is me around toddlers that I don't like. I don't like who I become around these uncontrollable strong willed creative adventurous walking little humans. I don't like that I struggle to keep my cool around them, that I get frustrated so easily with stupid things (why do I really care if Bear is behind the Honey Bee Bush), and that my attitude needs constant readjusting around toddlers. As my MB and I talked this afternoon she said made a great point, a "duh" moment...Toddlers are not Robots. I know this, but it is a great reminder that they aren't going to do everything that we want them to do.

I am faced with the truth - a truth I hate to admit - I don't know toddlers that well. People tell me I am great with kids, one person said I was a "baby-whisperer", so shouldn't this include toddlers? Surprise Surprise - nope because toddlers are not yet kids and are no longer babies. They are little people. They are learning. Learning to explore, learning that they can make decisions, learning they have a voice and an opinion. Toddlers are growing and developing. Just as we need patience from others they need patience from us.

Tonight Bear's dad was calling him to put his shoes on, Bear was looking really hard for a drum. I almost told him to go listen to Daddy but waited to see what he would do. Bear took 5 more seconds, found his drum beat it a few times and then ran to his Daddy and put his shoes on.This scene was a great reminder that as toddlers develop they have a mind of their own. Bear just wanted to play a drum, he wasn't ignoring his Dad he just had his mind set on finishing what he started. How many times a day do I finish what I am doing before responding to Bear's asking for water or Bugs cry to get picked up. So isn't it just as natural that toddlers learn the same thing.

I have two choices laying in front of me: I can either stay in my frustration not understanding what a toddler needs believing the lie I don't like toddlers. Or I can do my homework, realize that just because I don't fully understand toddlers does not mean I don't like them. So with a new book downloaded on my kindle and open communication with other toddler caretakers I am ready. Ready to like these little tykes that I am beyond blessed with, ready to stop the frustration, and ready to admit I really do like toddlers.

ceconner ©5.28.2014

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