It’s hard. There are days when we are raising a a strong willed child and it is real hard. It’s like having an adult argument with a child. Or like trying to convince someone that the sky is indeed blue. You see sweet man, you are your father from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. I can’t believe I’m going to admit this to you but there are so many things about your father I didn’t know until we became parents. I guess when I think back on it, how could I have seen certain attributes of his personality when we didn’t share children together for years. Of course we talked about having children, we discussed our passion behind raising a family together and the only thing we disagreed on was the amount of years we wanted between our children. As time passes and you and your sister get older we hit the usual road blocks and we have found ourselves being thrown into the ring of fire on more than one occasion when it comes to this parenting gig. One thing I never knew about your father was just how strong willed he was. Honestly, I never even thought about it until you hit the age of three.
I knew I was raising a strong willed child when I was in the dining room doing something, you were in the playroom and started yelling for me. Here is how it happened:
Drew: “Momma where are you??!!”
Momma: “I’m in the dining room buddy”
Drew: “Momma where are you upstairs!?”
Momma: “No, buddy I’m in the dining room what do you need?”
Drew: “No Momma your upstairs!”
Momma: “No I’m not Drew, I’m in the dining room!”
No sweet man, it did not stop there. I continued to argue with you. I think it’s the difference in our personalities. That evening when Daddy came home I said I had no idea how strong willed you had become! As the days went on the arguments were happening more and more. Over time I’ve chosen which ones to argue and which ones to just let you think you won the battle but the past month or so it has gotten OUT OF CONTROL. Here is an example of a recent argument about 45 minutes before dinner was ready, now keep in mind you eat nonstop. ALL DAY LONG:
Drew: “Momma can I have a snack?”
Momma: “No buddy, Momma is cooking dinner and it’ll be…..”
Drew: “Nooooooo Nooooooo but I’m hungwee noooooow!!!”
Momma: “I know you are buddy and it’ll be ready real…….”
Drew: “Momma I can have a snack! Yes, I can! Momma just say yes!! Just say yes I can have a snack!”
I think back to when you were a baby and I remember your determination. I actually admired it. As a baby you cried after every bottle you ate, so bad that we had you checked out numerous times because we thought you were in pain after eating. Nope. Not in pain. Just hungry. You always wanted more. People say it’s the typical boy and I think it’s bad now, wait until you comes home with a houseful of friends! Thank god I love preparing food! Then as a pretty large one year old, you couldn’t figure out how to crawl. I think it was because you were such a fat baby, by then we were already well into Baby-Led Weaning so my sweet boy you had quite the appetite and pallet. You were SO determined to get around that you did this scooting thing. Yes, like a gorilla almost. You then crawled for about a month and proceeded to start walking shortly after!
Now you are working your way towards four (ek!) and that amazing determination can be frustrating at times. You don’t back down on an argument. You argue over every little thing, it sometimes makes me feel like the worst mother ever because I find myself saying lately “That is my answer Drew and I’m not arguing with you about it anymore!” School mornings are really hard on me. Here is how a typical school morning goes in our house, now remember, right now you go twice a week.
I open your door at 7am:
Momma: “Morning buddy!!!! How was your sleeps?”
Drew: “Is it a school day Momma?”
Momma: “Yeah it is buddy, but you’ll get to stay home with Momma tomorrow!”
Drew: “Nooooooo I want to stay home, I don’t want to change, I want to stay in my pj’s all day It’s NOT a school day Momma! It’s not!! It’s NOT a school day!” Then you proceed to cry, throw yourself on the floor and stop and and scream.
Momma: Speechless and I walk away.
Yes I’ve tried many different approaches, the last one being last week when your sister was on school vacation and you actually went to daycare an extra day. I lied. Yes I did. When you insisted that it was not a school day for umpteenth time, I said “Yup your right buddy!” I hate lying to you but it got you dressed and downstairs in record time.
I poured myself a glass of wine that evening (ok maybe late afternoon) and thought long and hard. I thought of your father, I thought of his strong work ethic, his determination when working on a project, the fact that he can buy a book on plumbing and then proceed to actually hook up a toilet, shower and sink all by himself. I looked at you building your train tracks and smiled. I saw you get frustrated, you whined and even threw a few things but I sat and watched you. Then I saw the expression on your sweet face when you got the results you wanted. You proceeded to lay on the floor with your cute little face propped up on your hands and you watched those trains go up and down your masterpiece of a track. That face made realize that this is the hard part, we are raising a strong willed child, and it’s OK! If you grow up to be even a quarter of who your father is little man you will be amazing and I will be proud.
So that day as I watched you build those train tracks I made notes on all the ways your strong willed attitude will pay off some day. Even if it’s many many days from now I will get through today because some day when your a student you will speak up for what’s right and you won’t back down on something you feel passionate about. I will fight back the tears on the days I feel like I’m arguing with a three year old because some day you will be a loyal and hardworking employee that will always continue to prove himself. I will continue to allow that strong personality to shine through no matter how hard it gets because when you are in a marriage of your own someday that very strong personality will constantly make you practice and improve yourself. On the days I feel like I’m going to break from the fights between you and your sister because your feelings matter and you want to be heard I will stay strong because when you experience fatherhood it means that you will keep your commitment and never give up when times get hard.
It’s hard, but I promise to see the advantages of your sweet and strong personality from here on out.