This is not who I want to be. I don’t want to be yelling at my 3 year-old. I don’t want to be this parent. I want to be laughing, hugging and playing. But I’m constantly being pushed to the edge. Each day, I start anew, thinking this is the day she will be easier. This is the day I will come up with clever, creative ways to deal with her unbending will. But she’s already in a time-out for pinching her sister (yet again) and it’s 7:45 a.m.. Oh mercy.
Dylan’s stubbornness can be unyielding. At a time when we might be transitioning her into a big girl bed, she now refuses to sleep anywhere but a pack-n-play in mommy and daddy’s room (it’s only set up for her baby sister’s nap time). Dylan can’t even stretch out in there but apparently that’s where she wants to be.
Dylan, a shy girl from the start, ignores our neighbors who only want to say hello. One neighbor actually thought Dylan was deaf because she never even looks up when the woman says hi to her. But with us, she comfortably yells, “NO!” at the top of her lungs when it’s clean-up time, bath time or any other time she deems unpleasant. Although she bubbles with excitement when her sister is around, Dylan also constantly pinches, hits and grabs at Summer. Of course, Dylan has moments of warmth, laughter and ease throughout the day but they are often just sprinkled amongst the meltdowns and discontent.
I used to watch “Supernanny” and just feel so sorry for those good intentioned parents who get steamrolled by their unruly children. Now I’m starting to feel a bit sorry for myself. But I know this is just a toddler phase. Each morning I try to forgive myself for yesterday’s mistakes and vow to be a more caring, sensitive and patient parent. Today on the way to preschool, I pointed out to Dylan how the rays of morning sun hit the buildings on West 4th street. “Isn’t it beautiful?” She agreed. And for the next few blocks, she pointed out to me all the spots where sparkling sunlight covered windows, steps and sidewalks on the quaint street. On the way home, we looked for airplanes in the sky and tried to jump on our shadows. These are moments of peace when Dylan and I connect. These are the moments when I am the kind of parent I strive to be.