Over the course of the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a definite behavioral change in Cullen. He’s definitely found his voice, and he’s not afraid to use it. Of course telling us, “NO!” is nothing new. He’s been doing that for months now. But now no is accompanied by something else. Flailing, screaming, and hitting. Oh hello, tantrums.
He has this new karate chop move – swinging his arm wildly at my face if he doesn’t like what I’m saying or doing. I have to admit, it’s both frustrating and maddening. I’m quickly realizing that I have a lot to learn about discipline. He hits me in the face and I just sort of stare at him in shock. What I want to do it grab his arm and yell, but I know that’s not the right solution. So for now I’ve been putting him down and explaining that that hurts mommy, and I’m redirecting him toward something else.
Still, it stings. My sweet baby boy who used to give me nothing but smiles and laughter is suddenly a big boy who doesn’t always like what mama has to say. Obviously I knew this was coming, but it still sort of feels like getting hit by a bus.
Don’t get me wrong. Most of the time he’s still smiley and happy. But then that arm starts swinging and I’m quickly reminded that we have a full-blown toddler in the house now. The cooing baby days are long gone. And I think this means it’s time to read a discipline book (or five), and establish a consistent plan to carry though with my husband. I want to be an advocate for positive behavior. At the same time, I understand that Cullen is growing and forming his own opinions and thoughts, and to some extent, I need to respect those.
Don’t want to give mama a kiss? Okay, I guess you don’t have to. I can’t force it. Even though he swings at my face and throws his body on the ground several times a day, he still gives me a giant hug and slobbery kiss each night before bedtime. It’s as if he knows I need the reassurance that he still needs and loves me. And we’ll continue to trudge onward into this next phase of toddler-hood – the good, the bad, and the confusing.