Parenting is hard.
That may be the understatement of a lifetime. I know that everyone warned me while I was pregnant that I was in for quite a ride, but let's be honest, it's not one of those things you can really grasp until you are living it every day. I'm sure it'd be similar to explaining how massive the universe is and then sending me up into space to see for myself. Becoming a parent redefines so many concepts that you thought you had a grasp on previously - love, fear, exhaustion, and... difficult.
I have a point... I swear. Addison is 2 1/2 now... and while she is an amazing, sweet, funny, lovable girl 93% of the time... there IS the issue of that other 7% of our day. The very 'two' moments that seem to occur in the most public places or when we're all wiped out and running on fumes. In all of the time I spent daydreaming about what parenthood would be like, somehow I missed planning out how I would deal with this kind of behavior - sassing (even a two year old with limited language can tell you EXACTLY what she thinks of you... it's scary), hitting and biting her friends, being defiant (my LEAST favorite) just for the sake of being defiant, and raging, kicking and screaming tantrums... I try to make sure I discipline her, I feel like we're ALWAYS telling her no and redirecting her, I try to explain why the choice she made isn't acceptable... I don't spank her simply because she is so freaking strong willed that I don't want her to get the idea that bigger people can hit little people without any consequences. I see her retaliate with her friends at daycare - if one hits her, she waits until he's defenseless and walks up and smacks him [shakes head embarrassingly]... Time outs mean nothing to her - she either wails for a minute or two and then gets distracted or spends the time singing to her hands and talking to the wall. If I try to sit down and talk with her she either screams and cries or we go back to the sassing/tantrums that I mentioned earlier. So what is a Mama to do?? I've been reading books and articles about "Positive Discipline" for ideas and I agree with what the authors are saying but I don't see it working at all with a two year old. She simply doesn't have the language capabilities to explain why she's mad/frustrated/sad and that makes it impossible to talk about it.
The thing that scares me the most is looking forward... one day this tiny, irrational, ball of emotions is going to have sound arguments and valid opinions coupled together with this strong will and that leaves me wondering what life will be like in another 11 or 12 years. When she goes nuclear, she does it in a nanosecond. There are no warning signs, no 'caution' zone where I can talk her down... and once she's gone over that line there is nothing that can be done.
I am at a loss... and unlike health problems and milestone questions, I don't feel like there is a resource available to help with this. I know that other moms with kids Addison's age are dealing with these same things but I don't feel like any of us have a clue how to actually manage this kind of behavior. It's maddening!! I want nothing more that to be a good mom - I want my kids to be healthy, happy, and well-adjusted. I know that this phase won't last forever, I just wish I had more tools or strategies at my disposal so that it wasn't such a painful [or embarrassing] stage in our lives...