My tumultuous relationship: parenting a toddler

"Mommy, I will not smile."
“Mommy, I will not smile.”

Before I became a mom, I anticipated the usual things people tell you to be prepared for: lack of sleep in the beginning, unconditional love, terrible twos and teenagers. I don’t have a teenager, but I was one many years ago and can definitely say I was not easy. God help me when my children get to that age if they act like me. The lack of sleep and unconditional love I have experienced first hand, and I have a mixture of excitement and fear as I approach delivery for my second child.

Regarding the terrible twos, I disagree. Jude will be three years old tomorrow, and the last month or so has been WAY more challenging than when he turned two. It baffled me until I read a blogger’s article 3-year-olds are a**holes. It may sound harsh, but it’s true. That being said, it’s amazing how truly jerky he can be, yet 10 minutes later, all I want to do is hug and kiss him. Unconditional love right there!

Apparently I was a defiant, head strong child. Well, lucky me, my son turned out just like me. My prayer was that my children would look like me and act like my husband. I got the opposite with Jude.

Exhaustion after refusing to nap at school

However, like most kids, I had a price – in the form of having toys and privileges taken away. You could have spanked me all you wanted, but take away a precious privilege and suddenly I was in line. We’ve tried time out, taking things away, threatening to not go somewhere we promised, etc. Jude could give a sh*t. I’ll say “Jude, if you don’t listen to mommy and pick up your toys, we aren’t going to your cousin’s birthday party.” He will respond, “Ok, I don’t want to go to the birthday party.” Well, crap. That tactic didn’t work.

In the car last week, he started hollering at me, “Mommy, you’re going the wrong way! School is that way!” I said, “Jude, I know the way to school, and it’s this way.” He pipes back, “No you don’t, it’s that way! And you are going too fast! You need to slow down or the policeman will give you a ticket!” Seriously?! I responded: “Jude, this discussion is over. I am not arguing with a two year old.” He replies “I’m not two, I’m three!” Ugh. No point in telling him he technically isn’t three until April 9. I’ve already wasted enough of my time on this. You’ve probably seen the viral video of a three year old negotiating why he should have cupcakes for dinner. Apparently all kids this age make a case for themselves.

I love this face!

Jude is lucky he’s so cute. Especially when he tells me things like “I want Nana <my mom> to pick me up from school, not you.” Or he refuses to give me a hug, repeatedly throws toys or food, etc. But once his attitude improves, he’s usually the sweetest thing. It helps you remember why you procreated in the first place, and why you’ll likely do it again. Only Jude could be so cruel to me and have me on the verge of tears one day, and then have me completely forget and just want to snuggle him the next.

I love what Uma Thurman recently said about having children: “Having a child is like having your heart get out of your rib cage and walk around the room.” I could never in a million years have dreamed that someone could push my buttons so much, yet I could also love them so freaking much at the same time. Jude is the most amazing, perfect thing I could have ever done with my life. Even if he drives me bananas sometimes!

What do your kids do to challenge you? How do you respond?


  1. First, let me say, I totally relate! I’ve recently dug into my teaching tool bag to deal with These types of behaviors with Nathaniel. The refusal to pick up toys- I physically take his hand and hand-over-hand puck up the toys with him until he starts doing it himself. By the 3rd or 4th toy, he starts doing it by himself because he doesn’t like hand-over-hand. I made a sign with the 2 main rules on it and hung it in the kitchen and his bedroom. It has pictures and words. We refer to it often. I think the visual is powerful. We also use a visual schedule. I did a post about it a while back or you can google it. They REALLY help. He will obey the schedule more than me! Ha! Also, I believe there need to be consequences, but also make sure when he is speaking and acting nicely, that you let him know you noticed, and that you are very proud of him with lots of praise, ESPECIALLY when it’s a time he’d usually be difficult. Hope this helps!!!

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