taming the two's + the beautiful struggle


* author's note: as i write this i am attending a seminar listening to a man give his take on how we can all be more mindful. he gives us parodies and examples of ways to think positive and shape your life to avoid burnout. some of his techniques include making time for yourself and taking longer deeper breaths. i couldn't help but wonder, what would my kids do if said to them: "so guys, mind if mom goes and clears her mind for about twenty minutes? help yourself to whatever you can reach in the kitchen."


as max approaches his third birthday, i feel it's time to stop avoiding the topic of actually parenting toddlers. not just fun trips to the park and museums, or colorful lists of helpful items to buy. i'm going out of my comfort zone and talking about real feelings. showcasing the stuff not everyone gets to see. the times when my kid can be a complete butthead and i have to find it in me to not lose my mind.

so here goes.

my two sons were born 15 months apart. max came racing through me late at night after 5 days of ineffective induced labor. it was a vaginal birth and we were inseperable for the next three months. knox was late but still arrived before i was ready. he was an emergency c-section and to this day i hate that for the first few moments of his life he was not in my arms. i hate that i heard his cry before i met his beautiful face. and since then i've always harbored this sense of worry that i don't for max. and maybe that's because knox is the baby, and always will be. maybe. their stories so different despite sharing so much else. like the best of josh + myself. it really is amazing.

but there's a but. two under two was very, very hard. now, on bad days, i think back to those times, nursing while entertaining a 15-month old, managing two bath times and bed times every night, and think, it's not so tough now. i mean anything must be easier without a helpless baby physically feeding off of you.

so now with one under two and the other seriously owning his two's, it's more of a struggle. but it's a beautiful struggle. wait, what? what's so beautiful about struggle? isn't the struggle real? as in really bad? but you heard me right. the struggle is beautiful. especially on those bad days. the days when my eldest just wants and wants and then doesn't know what he wants. when he wants so much for me to understand but he doesn't have the words yet. the tantrums over what movie to watch or not sharing toys. whining when mama tries to clean the house or make dinner. the struggle that takes over max when he is so upset his eyes well up. his fists tighten and his body trembles. his face gets red as his emotions heat up, hitting him hard and fast. he's still so small you know.

it's really frustrating for us both. and it can break you. it's broken me. and then i feel like i've let him down. so now, when we get to this place, i slow it all down. take a step back and let it all in. i stop trying to fix the problem and get out of my own head. and i just watch him. observe. it's like letting someone talk. they just want to be heard. kids can say so much without saying anything at all. i start to understand. and sometimes i don't. but i try and reassure him that everything is ok.

and then it's over.

sometimes it takes a hug, or a talk or he realizes on his own that he was worked up more than he wanted to be. he lost control and he was scared. and then his voice goes back to normal, high pitched and sweet, every word ending in a question sound. then he will give me another hug + squeeze, and sometimes touch my cheeks softly and look at me with those beautiful eyes that say i'm sorry mama. i love you.

me and max.jpg

i sure do love you too, maxwell. i'm sorry two can be so hard. but just wait until you hit puberty. lawd help me.

as for you knox. come june i'll be ready for you. bring it!

and that's it for the feelings today. back to shopping and adventures coming soon.

xoxo, sony, max + knox

Sonia Cheek2 Comments