“Sit Down, Mommy!” and Other Sage Advice from a Two Year Old

Toddlers…

They play hard, love hard, nap hard, and feel allllll the feelings hard. Having two-year-old twins is challenging me in ways I never knew I could be challenged. I have asked my friends and colleagues for advice on getting through the ‘terrible twos‘ and have tried desperately to prepare myself, but I have recently come to accept the fact that there is no preparation. I just have to be on my toes at all times…times two!

"Sit Down, Mommy!" and Other Sage Advice from a Two Year Old | Houston Moms Blog

I find myself winging it most days, especially with two toddlers who have very different personalities. I try my best to anticipate what might trigger them in an attempt to avoid an epic meltdown and maintain my own sanity. But many times I end up frustrating myself and them and don’t get anywhere.

Then it hit me.

Toddlers are just simple beings with simple demands who are simply trying to express what they want or need, but sometimes have a little {or a lot of} trouble doing so. Adults can speak and express how they feel at will and still have trouble getting it right, so I can only imagine how it must feel to have all those emotions and thoughts and NOT be able to fully communicate.

I know sometimes I complicate things by interjecting too much ‘adult’ thinking and reasoning. What I really need to do is throw all the baggage of adulthood away and think like a toddler–I need to put myself in their tiny little shoes. I am finding that my toddlers are actually brilliant beings who have figured it all out and maybe, just maybe, I could learn a thing or two from them. 

Here are a few things my twin toddlers are teaching me ::

If you get a boo-boo, someone needs to kiss it.

As a mother, I want to fix everything. So when my baby gets a boo-boo, I kiss it to make it all better. Of course, it ends up backfiring sometimes when I find myself kissing boo-boos that don’t even exist or are located on the bottom of her foot, but I still gladly do it anyway. And just like that! She feels better! {And Mommy fixed it}

The act of kissing boo-boos is clearly one of mutual benefit. My daughter has no problem letting me know when she is hurt and needs attention, and I have no problem letting her know I am there to fix it. It makes me feel good to know that she thinks Mommy has a solution. But if I am so good at making another person feel better, why am I not letting someone know when I am hurting or need attention?

"Sit Down, Mommy!" and Other Sage Advice from a Two Year Old | Houston Moms Blog

Why aren’t my boo-boos getting kisses??

Moms are fixers by nature, but rarely do we admit when we need to be fixed. It’s hard to let someone else take care of us, but it really is OK if we are vulnerable and need help. This was a very hard lesson for me to learn, and in many ways, I am still learning it. It’s not easy for me to take a minute, let my guard down and say, “I have a boo-boo.” But letting someone know is not only good for my mental and emotional well-being as a mother, it teaches my children that I get boo-boos too, just like them

‘No’ is not a bad word.

Toddlers are EXPERTS at saying, “No!”, and they make NO apologies for doing so! So why do we tend to associate our toddlers saying, “No!”, with an act of defiance or being difficult? Why do we expect them to do what we want when we want it?

It is said that toddlers speak the truth {out of the mouths of babes}. So when they say, “No!”, they are simply saying what they really feel without any hesitation or reservation. If they don’t want it or like it, they say it. If they don’t want to do it, they don’t. 

Is that such a bad thing?

"Sit Down, Mommy!" and Other Sage Advice from a Two Year Old | Houston Moms Blog

I don’t want my son to feel like he has to do anything and everything asked of him. I want him to know that he always has a say, especially as he gets older. I want him to be confident, expressive and autonomous. In fact, I wish I could let ‘no’ roll off my tongue as freely as he can. Although this can be a great inconvenience and make things more difficult at times, I admire it. I respect the innocent and unapologetic nature of my son when he simply doesn’t want to do it, or say it, or eat it, or wear it. 

Perhaps I could follow his lead and say what I really want to say. Maybe I do need to say, “No!”, more often. I probably do take on too much. I probably could focus more on doing a few things excellently rather than a lot of things well. Maybe I should protect my time and energy a little more so I can give myself more time to reset and regroup.  ‘No’ may not be what others want to hear, but it may be what I need to say.

If something makes you laugh or feel happy, do it again and again and again!

I remember the moments when she was little and something seemingly mundane {like making a funny sound} made her burst into belly laughs that filled the room, which prompted me to try to replicate that sound over and over again just to hear those giggles. Or the time when I held her up and made her do a flip, and she asked me to do it again and again until my arms gave out. Or that time when I pretended to be sleeping and snoring. She thought it was sooooo funny. She shouted, “Wake up, Mommy!”, and I would startle awake and make her laugh uncontrollably. 

“Do it again, mommy!! Again!!”

"Sit Down, Mommy!" and Other Sage Advice from a Two Year Old | Houston Moms Blog

 

Toddlers get it. They know when something makes them happy and they LOVE to laugh. They will replicate the silliest thing over and over again just to entertain themselves or someone else. They aren’t afraid to let go and be ridiculous and silly and funny. Having toddlers has reminded me what it’s like to let go. I have found a part of me that has been buried under stress and work and adulting for way too long. At 45 years-old, I am finding the kid in me again.

…and its wonderful!! 

Forget everything else and just sit down.

I have spent a majority of my life being a ‘do-er’ and very little time sitting back and just ‘being’. I am used to working all day then coming home and finding other things to work on. There is always something that needs to be done, and some things simply cannot wait. I have always been a lot of Type A, a little obsessive-compulsive, and always on the go, go, go.

I didn’t realize just how much this way of living this was affecting my life, though, until the twins came along.

Since the twins have been able to communicate more clearly, the first thing they say when I get home is, “Sit down, mommy!” If they see my purse on my shoulder or if I have a jacket on, they immediately tell me to take it off and sit down. I sometimes tell them to wait a minute, Mommy needs to this or I’ll be right back as soon as I do that, but that only makes them more insistent and upset.

"Sit Down, Mommy!" and Other Sage Advice from a Two Year Old | Houston Moms Blog

I finally realized that they are telling me to sit down because they don’t want to see me go.

They associate a jacket, a purse, or my scrubs with me leaving and being gone. They don’t want me to leave the room if even for a minute because they think I may not come back. They don’t understand that Mommy simply going upstairs doesn’t mean I’m going to leave. They don’t care if the counter is dirty and Mommy needs to clean it. They don’t understand that I need to do laundry or take a shower or go to the bathroom. They just don’t want me to leave. So my sitting down is telling them that I am right there with them and for them. They have my full attention.

Once I started doing less do-ing and more sitting, I realized that the house wasn’t going to fall apart. The laundry can wait. I can take a shower later and just change my dirty scrubs instead. What won’t wait is them growing up. What won’t wait is the time when they don’t care if I leave. I need to savor every second they want to be with me, even if it’s just me sitting on the floor watching them do what toddlers do.

The biggest lesson I have learned from my toddlers is that I need to sit down and just be…with them.

"Sit Down, Mommy!" and Other Sage Advice from a Two Year Old | Houston Moms Blog


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Shannon M. Clark, MD is a Professor in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at UTMB-Galveston, TX where she is an educator, researcher and clinician. As an ACOG media expert, she contributes to multiple websites, news outlets and magazines regarding pregnancy-related topics. More recently, she has taken a special interest in fertility, pregnancy and motherhood after age 35, which according to age alone, is considered a high-risk pregnancy. She was inspired not only by the experiences of friends and patients, but also by her own personal experience of trying to start a family at the age of 40. Because of her personal and medical knowledge of the fertility and medical concerns surrounding pregnancy after age 35, she started Babies After 35 -a site dedicated to fertility, pregnancy and motherhood after age 35. Sharing her medical expertise and personal experiences, she has written for Huffington Post, Mind Body Green, The Washington Post and Glamour. Dr. Clark became a mother at age 42 to twins Remy Vaughn and Sydney Renée {September 2016} via IVF. She is a full-time working mother with a passion for world travel, writing, amateur photography and her first baby, a pit bull named Cru, who crossed the rainbow bridge 4/17/2018.

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