City Mama, County Mama: Zen & The Art of Toddler Maintenance (By Lonelle Selbo, Life Au Lait)
As my little man’s big Oh-Three approaches, I wonder to myself if there’s really any chance that those very real ‘terrible twos’ could possibly be nearing their end.
Not that he was terrible—if I look critically at the last year, I can see a gorgeous, spirited little creature, trying to become himself and find his voice in the midst of mommy and daddy’s concrete world filled with inexplicable, inflexible rules. His behaviour made perfect sense, but it still wasn’t easy for us. When he finally fell asleep at night, we’d spend hours trying to rationalize what had happened that day and what it meant about how we would deal with tomorrow.
“Well, he ate lunch 10 minutes later than normal…” my husband explained.
“And he had hummus,” I interrupted, “you know, I think he might be allergic to chickpeas.”
“Oh, and he also hasn’t had a poo today” he added, and I nodded vigorously.
“Aaand he got that new fire truck toy we didn’t let him take to bed.”
So, we were in agreement: a late lunch, hummus, no poos, and a new toy conspired to give our 2.5 year-old that huge hit of strength that allowed him to bust out of his crib tonight, for the first time.
Every day of his second year of life had been like this though. Our child, a blur of pure physical energy, muscles straining to find the infinite ceiling of their potential – the two of us struggling to intellectualize his every act.
Why was he crying when we gave him what he asked for? Why didn’t he want to eat the thing that was his favourite meal yesterday? Why was he a perfect sleeper forever and now falls apart when we leave the room?
And then it hit me. Kids aren’t jobs. They aren’t schedules. They aren’t math or physics or finite equations. They’re little people, humans, given to volatility and unpredictable emotion. And they’re just learning to be humans, so their reactions aren’t seated in logic or based on precedent. To top it off, each of their personalities is entirely unique and wildly evolving—so to try to fit them into any realm of grown up reasoning is to fail before we’ve even begun.
So, as the eve of our graduation from this mini-era grows closer, I offer other parents the only resolution I can find to the tried and true ‘Terrible Twos’: Be Zen. Be open to the capricious universe. Be accepting of the tides. Be a firm and yielding pressure between the land and the sea. Be the permeable shield. Be the unconditional retreat. Be overflowing with love. And be completely vulnerable to the magic that is your child’s exuberant march towards his own being.
From the green belts of Midtown Toronto to the endless pastures and lakes of Prince Edward County, fashion magazine editor Lonelle Selbo, lives, eats, sleeps, and breathes all things mommy—from cool toys to DIY home décor, pretty things to hip places, where-to-eat to how-to-grow, and mom style to toddler chic. Every month, she’ll bring a little County to Midtown Mommies.