Mirror

The day I found out I was going to have a little girl was a glorious one. I envisioned someone who would share the same interests, beliefs, and hobbies as her mother. I imagined a little girl who would inherit her parents’ good qualities because we would always be on our best behavior – patient, loving, and kind – through every parenting moment. I am glad that my little daughter has turned out to be compassionate like her daddy and her sense of humor seems to be a combination of both of us. But never did I think my daughter would inherit my…mouth!

We are definitely in the throes of the “sassy” phase right now (please, let it be a phase!) where it seems like everything is a battle and her words and tone of voice are in constant defiance.

Here are some examples:

In response to me taking a pack of gum from her hands that she smuggled out of her aunt’s purse, I get:Mommy, that was bad, you need to go to your room!

When I tell her it’s very late and time for bed, she looks me straight in the eyes and inquires: Are you kidding me?!?!

When I inform her she cannot have a sip from daddy’s glass of wine she warns: Don’t say no to me EVER!

Oh joy.

Whenever she talks this way, my husband gives me a look and says, “Hmmm…who does she sound like?” Yes, I confess these are all phrases that I have said to her in my attempts at discipline, those times that call for me to be extra firm and put the fear of MOM into her. But on many of those occasions she just seems to scoff at me, use my words against me, and attempts to ignore our wishes anyway. I know many of us go through the sassy stage…but how do I get out of the “OMG my child is starting to sound just like me and it isn’t pretty phase?”

I realize that children are little mirrors reflecting everything we say and do, so I need to work on ways to teach my child how to communicate better, while clearly defining the mother/daughter roles (um, wish me luck with that?). I suppose this would be the time to pull out the parenting books to figure out how to accomplish such tasks, except for the fact that I have not read a single parenting book since becoming a mom. I am pretty much raising my daughter by the seat of my pants. So if anyone has any suggestions, I am all ears.

In the meantime, I realize it is time to re-examine how I communicate and interact with this little girl. Here are some steps I am going to take:

*I need to take the time to explain things a little better rather than simply by saying, “NO, because I said so!” because it totally doesn’t register with a toddler brain, or any brain (especially my husband’s) for that matter.

*Slow down and communicate with my daughter a little more patiently. Those times that I am either in a hurry or exhausted (which seems like always these days) are when I tend to fly off the handle. But I realize it is those times that require the most patience. Just by calming my tone of voice, I find that helps the situation. It doesn’t require extra time or energy either, but makes a big difference.

*I am going to cut myself some slack. When my toddler acts up, I know this is just part of the growing up phase and that I just have to switch up my act a little. But I still know that I am a good mother to this little girl. I am doing the best I can everyday and learning everyday.

*Utilize those relaxation techniques that I have discovered to work well with my child.

I totally understand now that connecting and communicating with a toddler, is an entirely different ballgame than bonding with an infant/baby. Those days she relied exclusively on me for nourishment, and the baby wearing and co-sleeping have certainly laid the foundation for a strong bond. But now my daughter has detached from her mama. She is her own person. Sleeping in her own room, developing her own tastes, and having her own opinions as to how to live her life. A life that apparently involves a lot of gum chewing, staying up late, and wine drinking. Help me, she IS becoming like me!

But seriously…this is just another challenge to overcome and a chance to manage annoying toddler behavior with tolerance. It is a living, breathing, and talking reminder that my daughter is watching every move I make and hearing every word I say, so I better act right! It’s amazing how these kids make us better people isn’t it? And those sassy moments do not outweigh the outpouring of love, hugs, and kisses I get from this little girl on a daily basis. Through it all, I am very proud of this compassionate, funny, and fearless little girl of ours and I am glad she is just a little bit like her mama.

Editor’s Note: Mary Grace is on blogger maternity leave so we’re sharing some of her older but still fantastic posts.

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