Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The big BIG emotions of a two year old... and the even bigger emotions of her mama

We have a two year old.

That sentence should be all I need to type for most to understand and empathize with what we've been struggling with over the past little while. The tantrums, the NOs, the refusal to get dressed/brush teeth/eat dinner/go to bed, pushing us away in anger, the whining - oh. my. gods. the whining and stubbornness to boot. 

It's the big emotions of a two year old - they're growing and developing at a rapid rate and they are responding authentically, albeit brain stabbingly painfully for us. I envy the truth to their actions and emotions. 

My emotions are just as big, maybe even bigger, as I learn how to deal with the anger that results from the shrieking-hairpulling-punching-kicking-and-screaming-in-the-middle-of-the-street-moments. I'm not proud. I yell at my kid sometimes. I wish I could tap in to some ujjayi breath and pause before I react more often than I do, but honestly ...
by the end of the day I want to be the one shrieking-hairpulling-punching-kicking-and-screaming

We have been taught, trained, to unlearn natural human responses as we've grown into adulthood. We're taught not to cry when we're sad, or not to yell when we're angry. The focus has been on happiness and bliss for so long we are forgetting what it's like to react to our authentic emotions. 

The only thing we seem to be encouraged to do is to laugh or smile when we're happy. A lot of people can't even cry when they're sad because they've been so conditioned. I once wrote about screaming into pillows - and underwater - and it's the greatest feeling because you can release the emotion that has boiled up inside you. 

Really, that's all our toddlers are doing... releasing and expressing their emotions. I want to try to let my girl work her emotions out for herself - for her to learn how to be a good listener and understand what is happening. I know, I know... it'll come with time. 

For now I'm trying to focus on the flip side. That with all of the above comes the wonderous development of a two year old. Seeing them struggle with a puzzle or a toy and its mechanics only to witness the "ah-ha" moment when it seems to click for them. Hearing them try to string sentences together in an attempt to communicate more fully... and hearing them repeat the same word over and over trying to get their point across through the power of inflection. 

Discovering colours, feeling how their bodies move when they dance and how their voice sounds when they sing. Learning to use the toilet and brush their own teeth... it's all fascinating to watch. 

That being said... I'm still looking for ways to stop and breathe before reacting. Have any tips?