Toddler life is hard.
Not just on them, but on the parents we well. I’m sure many of you can relate right?
You’re dealing with a little one who is just starting to communicate, and even then it’s so basic there’s many miscommunications as well. It’s a guessing game that takes all your patience and then some. If you aren’t trying to figure out what they want, then they are constantly testing what they can do and not do and it really just drives you to insanity! Like how many times does something really need to be repeated?!
Like come on kid. Really?!
Being home with the kid isn’t always easy either. Many days run exactly the same. Wake up, exercise, eat breakfast, play, nap, work, wake up and eat a snack, dinner, bath, sleep and repeat. Over and over with not that much change because let’s face it; they pretty much the schedule because naptime is more valuable than diamonds. I’d much rather listen to a happy laughing child than a whiney one all afternoon cause if it’s not the monotony of these days, its the whining that’ll getcha. When Riley whines it sounds like she is saying “nine, nine, nine, nine” over and over and over. Lately, it has really been driving me up the wall! I always ask her why does she speak german when she’s mad? Her reply continues: “nine, nine, nine, nineeeeeee” blah. I swear just hearing the number nine is like a trigger word haha! All complaints aside, I know this is just a small time and to enjoy it while I can because those “nines” one day will become real words where she will talk my ear off and I’ll wish for the days that I didn’t know what she was saying.
I went a little bit on a tangent though. What I really wanted to talk about today is that I think there’s a big difference between bad days and rough days. We all know them, but I think the way we handle them for some reason is what gets me.
Bad days are more common.
Bad days are the ones where they whine off and on all day. They are extra needy, always asking you for something that you can’t really figure out. You try things over and over and sometimes they work, and sometimes it doesn’t. You may turn on the TV and put on their favorite movie, take them out for a car ride, give them an extra snack outside just so you don’t need to hear their cries for a few precious minutes. These days feel a little longer then good days. And while the whining and crying is plenty, they still give you those moments of laughter, take a good nap, and go to bed somewhat normally. You chalk it up to teething or a developmental leap because that’s what toddlers do. They are always changing and keeping us on our toes. Just when you think you get it, they just gotta throw you a curveball.
Rough days are the ones that make you want to cry right along with them (and usually do in all honesty). They are exhausting. Smaller naps, bad nights, they get into everything, and their cries take up most of the day. Every time you scold them for one thing and cleaning up that mess they are already getting into something else. No matter that you do, it seems never good enough for them. You are just counting down the hours until they can go to bed and you are just praying that when they go down, they’ll stay down so you can breathe. At the end of the day you deserve that glass of wine, or bowl of ice cream cause hell, they put you through the ringer today!
Here’s my mom guilt. This has happened multiple times and every time it does, I feel so horrible. For some reason, I’ll have a bad day that I’ll easily chalk up to teething and move on, but then I’ll have a rough day where I will be just more upset at her, yelling at her more, loosing my patience, and just missing time to myself where I didn’t have to listen to her cries. Wishing I could just walk away. I feel so bad for feeling this way but the exhaustion and patience really just wears you down until you feel like you have nothing left and yet you need to still give more. These are the days that for some reason I don’t even think that teething may be a problem she is having. It’s like I completely forget about it and think she is just out to make my life has hard as possible.
The other day, she was fairly happy in the morning but by time nap time the angry dragon had emerged. After her nap, it was like she woke up on the wrong side of the crib. She only napped for a hour vs her usual 3-4 hours. Everything I did to try silence her cries only worked for a minute or two. I tried putting her back down for a nap. I’d try to play and distract her but she wanted nothing of it. I pick her up, she cries. I put her down, she cries. I give her snacks (this works the best but by golly if I give her the wrong snack!) but it only works for a little bit then she’s back to crying. I take her outside; she plays for 5-10 minutes then cries to go back inside…and cries again when we go back in. Then we have a moment where she may be happy, but why? Cause she is getting into things she isn’t supposed to! I clean up mess after mess after mess telling her no over and over. Dinner finally rolls around and she doesn’t eat anything I place in front of her minus her forth banana for the day. I tell my husband when he came home that I deserve ice cream so we take a break and leave the house to get some at the closest Baskin Robins. You can bet she really enjoyed this outing cause who doesn’t like ice cream? Yet the second we walk back in the door, the tears arise once again.
I decide she must finally be cracking from having that short nap and is over tired so I start up her bath. Baths usually calm her down and she likes them but nope, not today. She is crying in the bathtub with snot running from her nose. I’m just reminding myself I am almost to bedtime. SO CLOSE to bedtime I can hear it (Get it? Cause it’ll be quiet!) and I’ll be free!
Then suddenly, it dawns on me. She is crying in the tub and I’m wiping her down and I ask her “Sweetie, are your teeth bothering you? Is that why you’ve been so sad today?” she stops crying and says “Yah” and just looks at me with a saddest face.
My heart sank. I’ve been so mad at her all day and the reason was simple. If only I gave her more cold treats, frozen washcloths or gave her some pain medication earlier. Instead I was blinded by the frustration again and let her suffer through it all day. Why do I always forget about teething on these rough days? I feel like whenever days get really hard, I forget about the common easy answer even down to if she needs an extra diaper change (You’d think I’d know this after a year of changing diapers but for some reason it still skips my mind. #badmom).
I feel so guilty when things like this happen but at the same time I know it’s normal. It’s normal to be so exhausted and frustrated that you miss things that are right in front of you. Teething is hard and I think it’s been rough lately cause Riley started teething a little late. She didn’t get her first tooth until closer to around 9 months old and it wasn’t until recently they all seem to be coming rapid fire. Last time I counted, I believe she was working on 6 at one time, two of them being molars.
The days can be long and rough but when I finally reach that bed time where I get to nurse and slow down for the day, I know this is worth it. I can sit in my rocking chair in the dim light and start coming up with a game plan for tomorrow where I am more aware of her teething, what I can do to help her, and when to do them. I try to remember that they are only this little for so long and while the days can be long that really the time is going by so fast. Days can feel unchanging but I seem to notice that before I know it, we are through another day, another week, another month and I’m just wondering where the time went.
So just keep on trekking ladies. Take those breaks in the bathroom for 5 minutes to gain your composure or eat that piece of chocolate you’ve been hiding for a rainy day. Message a friend to give your rant to free up space in your mind. Get in touch with your tribe and let them cheer you on, give you virtual hugs and those emoji wine glasses we all deserve. Teething is hard for everyone involved, but be easy on yourself. You got this!