Learning to love best as a parent

Ella will be two next month and with two comes those dreaded growing pains that involve "no", the occasional tantrum and even more new-found independence.  As Ella is new to this what is often described as the "terrible twos" phase, Tim and I are new to it all as well.  Ella is our first.  We don't have the advantage of experience yet, we just have our parental instincts of how to love her, teach her, and (when warranted) discipline her.

The other day Ella woke up from a nap on the wrong side of the bed.  She came downstairs crying, she wanted her water, we gave it to her, she cried.  We were ready to eat dinner, she was hungry but cried over her food.  The only thing that seemed to provide her with an ounce of comfort was her beloved "Lamby" who she clutched throughout the entire scene.  Eventually, we decided to put her in her room so she could take some quiet time to settle down.  Maybe she woke up too early, we thought.  The crying didn't subside, so after a few minutes I told Tim maybe I should go sit with her.  I went upstairs, picked her up, grabbed her blanket and (can't forget) Lamby and sat in the rocking chair that resides in the corner of her room.  It was quiet, the door was shut, the lights off, and I just rocked her.  The crying subsided immediately and after a few minutes (after she heard Archer downstairs) she perked up, lifted her head and said "Are-Cheese" and was quick to get off my lap and rush toward the door.

We went downstairs, sat down for dinner, and she ate it all.  Fussing be gone.

Sometimes, as parents, we greet irritability with discipline or a gentle, firm talking to.  And at times, it's probably justified.  When a toddler is insisting her shoes go on the opposite feet so much so that it leads her to tears and you need to get out the door, a parent is left no choice but to get serious.  But I'm quickly learning every situation is different and every scenario calls for an appropriate response.  The tough part is learning how to read situations and knowing how to respond appropriately.  Ella was just sad. Maybe she had had a bad dream or woke up scared or was woken up by her little brother's cries. Who knows?  What I do know is my little girl didn't need anything but some extra love and a longer hug that evening.

And so some extra love and a longer hug she got.


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