no one told me

that a kid’s nature isn’t to comply peacefully with the social and family structure they are born into.  no, no, no.  that, i am finding, must be a lifelong process that people progress along at a snail’s pace as they mature into adulthood.  no, a kid’s nature is more like to constantly run full force into every corner of their limitations to see how far out they can push them, if they can get by a crack in the wall, where, exactly, are their limitations and will they give if you keep hitting the same spot harder and harder?

looking at video of ruth from just a year ago, i am baffled as to where the sweet natured, seemingly cooperative, little cute early-talker went and who is this obstinate three-year-old who has taken over her body?  what i only realize in retrospect, is that i mistook her young, straight-forward self to be her actual nature, and not just a phase in a lifetime of developmental phases.  everything, i’m finding in parenthood, can only be understood fully in retrospect.  now, i understand that those earlier days were just stepping stones to get to where we are now: a much more sophisticated age where she questions everything and uses any tool in her power to manipulate us and control the circumstances of her life.  everything is a fight to the death.  she has no qualms about making my life miserable if it means getting what she wants.

chalk it up to just another of the many things that no one told me about becoming a parent.  a kid’s nature, no matter how sweet they may be at heart, is to test everything, push you to the absolute edge of your sanity, see how far they can go.  approaching three years old, we have been baptized by fire into this reality of our existence with her.  her brain just wasn’t sophisticated enough yet to battle for control like this.  she was passive and agreeable because that’s the only thing she was capable of.

now i have no choice but to be in constant combat against her.  how long will this last?  i’m guessing a good decade at least.  it is very unpleasant, indeed, and, as i said, completely unexpected by me.  how silly i was.  what a newb, first-time parent misconception.

this proves to be especially difficult for me, someone who has notoriously always had trouble setting limitations when it comes to other people, relationships.

i said to a new parent once before, by way of unsolicited advice, that you have the same relationship with your kid as you tend to with the adults in your life.  it’s the same type of pattern.  for me, i give everything to that person and trust that they will give me what i deserve in return.  i let myself get walked on and then foster pent up feelings of resentment that explode outward now and then.  i don’t know how to give myself space, to ask for it, set boundaries.

just some thoughts here entering into month eight of my pregnancy, preparing for what i anticipate to be a difficult day ahead, to say the least, coming face to face with this nearly three-year-old who has become something of a tyrant in our household, realizing that real and drastic changes need to be made, and simply not really feeling up to it.  coffee helps.  here goes the person who can’t set limits, beginning to set limits.  the person who wants a peaceful happy existence, ready to fight from dawn to dusk each day.  hopefully, we will all emerge on the other side better than when we went in.  wish me luck.  and good luck to you with whatever age and stage you are trudging your way through.


Author: Terry

Welcome! I am a Waldorf and unschooling-inspired homeschooling parent of three, ages 2, 5, and 8 living in the metro Lansing area writing from the front lines of parenthood. Join me as I try to navigate homeschooling and bask in the craziness of life with young ones. Feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by!

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