Lilah, like many three year old girls, knows how to throw a mean tantrum. And, like many girls, those tantrums reach epic proportions after she comes home from spending time with her grandparents. I know I did it to my own mother, and I'm truly understanding of the phrase "I hope you have one just like you someday" now. Lilah was fortunate enough to spend a few days with Grammy Julie and Grumpie earlier this week, and I was so grateful that she was able to do so. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents as a child, and I hope my children are fortunate enough to do the same. She went to the beach, to Santa's Village, and got lots of ice cream, lucky girl. And I got to have a little bit slower-paced daily routine with just the two boys, although the house was truly too quiet without her. I was thrilled to pick her up at a halfway point on Wednesday, and she was very sweet and chatty with me the whole ride home. Lots of kisses and hugs, and "I missed you soooo much!" was the refrain for the rest of the day.
And then, Thursday arrived. My sweet little angel girl turned into a three-year-old devil. She screamed, she kicked, she was defiant about everything. She spent a fair amount of minutes in time out. But the thing is, this girl knows the routine and understands her responsibilities when she has done something wrong, and I'm holding onto the testament that it means we are doing something right. Once she has been placed in time out, she may continue to throw her tantrum for a bit, but she knows that when she stops that she needs to talk calmly and politely to Mommy or Daddy about why she was put there. She usually apologizes and asks for a kiss and a hug. And lately, she throws this into the mix: "Mommy, will you please smile at me? I want you to be happy."
That simple request from my three-year-old daughter has moved me and inspired me as a parent. I am more conscious about how much I smile and show my happiness around my children these last couple of days. Because, honestly, it's easy to show them the negative emotions and frustration that come with day-to-day parenting (especially of a toddler and a preschooler). We have to doggedly reprimand and re-direct, and although it's all in the interest of "their own good", it can't be pleasant to see or hear all of the time. Don't get me wrong, I'm not constantly on the watch for negative behavior, ready to dole out punishment. We have lots of fun at our house and I try to let the kids be kids for the most part. But if you are a parent of a child over the age of one, you know how often "teaching moments" come up during the course of a day. It's all about balance, and I really want to tip the scales in favor of those happy, smiling moments in the future.
And, speaking of smiles, this kid is full of them. Forget Happiest Baby on the Block, he's the Happiest Baby in the World:
|Don't you just love those baby bubbles?|
|Please ignore my shabby attire, I was trying to beat the heat.|
|He is so sweet with baby dolls, even when he's whacking them on the back to "burp" them.|
|Lilah took the initiative for our "project" today and decided we should make paper bag puppets and a backdrop. I love how creative her little mind is!|