Gabby has always been my “right hand man,” or “left hand lady” as the case may be. She and I had an instant bond. Maybe it was because I was able to stay home with her at a young age. Maybe it’s because she’s a girl like me. Or maybe it’s because she has a more mild personality since she’s used to living with a type A personality like Drew’s (and mine). Although I’ve fretted about her being girly enough, and complained at times that she’s not quite as angelic as she should be, she’s always been the “easy” one.
Recently though, she has been experiencing the terrible twos on steroids. I say black and she says magenta, she screams, thrashes and cries…then we repeat this episode about twenty times in a given day. I find myself having to dust off the cobwebs of my brain to rediscover what is necessary to discipline a two year old. I’m whipping out stickers, I’m using one-two-three-magic up the wazoo, and I’m passing out time-outs like it’s my job. I haven’t exactly gotten into the swing of consistency with anything but I’m floundering and desperately looking for a life preserver.
I came up with the brilliant idea that perhaps this behavior is magnified due to our new roomie. He’s not exactly new at this point, so I think I discounted him as being the contributing factor for her behavior. But as I previously mentioned, I’m grabbing for something…anything.
In efforts to curb this behavior, I decided that a girls night out was a necessity. So Gabby and I set out for a night of manis, shopping, dinner and a book store.
We had the best night. It was as if we fell off our axis for a few weeks but were back in business. There was a mutual admiration like none other. We canoodled, we giggled, we enjoyed each other. There were zero issues. She went to the potty without an ordeal, she got into her car seat without any objections, we transitioned from place to place without any setbacks…until it was time to go home. It was a temper tantrum spiral all ending with holding her bedroom door closed so she wouldn’t come out AGAIN! What happened to the lover girl I just spent the evening with?!?!
For months now I have felt that I have been in survival mode. Just getting us where we have to go, back home and to bed at the end of the day was all I could wrap my head around. I feel good that I’m at the phase of my new normal where I’m considering what my kids’ emotionally need from me and trying to adapt. I think that it’s evidence that I’m progressing in this new world of three children.
I can’t help but feel like it’s one step forward and two steps back. My heart breaks that Gabby is so clearly struggling with our new family dynamic. I always think of Drew as the needy one and feel bad that I neglected to think that Gabby would also be struggling. I’m only one person though. I don’t know how to give each and everyone of them what they need without slacking with another child.