I have heard from many a mom that three is a very challenging age. My daughter’s third birthday is at the end of this month, and as if on cue, she has transformed in the past few weeks from a sweet child to nothing less than a monster.
My hubby and I are amazed by how different she is. And my days have become very, very long. She fights me all day long. Defies me at every opportunity. Dares me to discipline her and lashes out like a wild animal when I do.
Her behavior can be so ugly at times, I want to crawl into the corner of my closet, get in the fetal position and cry.
I know it is normal for a young child to test the boundaries and push for independence. But no one told me how hard this was going to be. Or how much it would hurt.
I have not been enjoying these days. And the sense that there is no light at the end of the tunnel has really had me down. But then a moment took place the other day that changed my perspective.
I was picking up my daughter up from speech therapy. I stopped by the ladies room first and ran into Miss Laurie, one of her therapists. She told me how proud she and the other therapists have been of SB’s performance recently.
“We just love that feisty little girl,” she gushed.
“That’s a good adjective,” I replied. “She certainly is full of spunk. She’s giving me a real run for my money lately.”
Miss Laurie smiled a knowing smile. “It’s a quality that will serve her well,” she insisted. “In fact, I don’t think she would have come as far as she has this past year without it.”
“She is an extremely determined little person,” I agreed.
“It’s a good thing; it will take her far in life,” Miss Laurie told me earnestly. “The challenge for you and those who work with her will be to help her direct that energy in the appropriate ways.”
“You are absolutely right,” I said. And she was.
My daughter is feisty. And that IS a good thing. It is a quality we share, and it has indeed helped me in life. It’s gotten me in trouble, too. But I have learned to direct it appropriately over the years.
I don’t want her to lose her spirit. It will help her reach for the stars and make her dreams come true someday. My job is to teach her to work within the boundaries. She’s struggling to discover where they are.
With firm, loving direction, I can show her the way. It’s a path I have already traveled. I know it well.
There is a sweetness in knowing I am raising a strong, independent little girl who will grow to be an amazing woman. Someone I will be proud of. And I will laugh then when I think of the almost three year old who put her hands on her hips and told me, with all the attitude she could muster in that tiny body, “No!”
The world is going to try to beat her down at times. And I want her to show it the same character.