In honor of the 4th of July, I decided to write about my latest experiences with Independence. My boys are 5 and 2. These ages are in and of themselves difficult, trying, interesting times. The juxtaposition of these two ages is not only entertaining, but eye opening. I have forgotten much about how my 5 year old got to be 5 and I'm watching my 2 year old do all those 2 year old things for the first time (for him). It's so interesting!
Both of my boys can be clingy, whiny, all about the mamma boys from time to time, but mostly, they are fiercely independent little creatures with their own minds about how things should go. The difference between the two, is of course, that the 5 year old is much better at articulating how things should go and he's bigger so he can make things go his way more often. The 2 year old however, is not far behind.
Someday, my 5 year old will most likely be a hostage negotiator. I've never seen a child negotiate for what he wants like he does--with me, his father, his brother, his grandparents. Sometimes it's funny. Sometimes it's frightening. Sometimes it's just plain annoying. Mostly I don't do negotiating unless it's something that doesn't pop up on the mom radar. Sometimes the order of what is done isn't so important as long as it's done. Sometimes, one more movie is okay with me. Sometimes I think he just likes to line it up in his head. My 5 year old is very methodical, highly anxious, and very focused. Maybe he'll be an air traffic controller.
The 2 year old, well, he's just so darn laid back he gets his way just by grinning that sweet smile and saying "cheese" for please. Those big old apple cheeks and dimples with that tow head of hair get me every time. He'll probably be a movie star or something. We should have named him Ham. "No" has been a favorite word for a while now. And when he's really really pissed about something he'll screw up those little eyes and turn his head and get all red in the face. WATCH OUT. He's also become quite the slugger. I'm waiting for the day he takes down big brother. Then it will be game on.
Anyway, about that independence thing. My boys buck authority about as good as any kids I know. I don't quite know what to do with that. Do I celebrate their desire to do it their own way? Should I be secretly glad that I can't lead them around by the nose? Is this muscle flexing a testosterone thing that they don't know how to deal with yet? I'm asking a serious question because the way I've been dealing with it isn't working. The sass is getting bigger and the spanking pretty much entices them to hit back--on each other. It's pretty stupid logic to whack your kid and say "don't hit your brother". But I'm telling you after about 3 minutes of a constant stream of whine and back talk, you just about have to tie my backhand down. I'm learning that forcing my hand is not the way I want to go about this. It doesn't provide me with any satisfaction because a) the lesson wasn't learned, and b) it's pretty obvious I'm not a good example of self-control.
So, HELP! All you mammas with kids who lived to be 6, let me know what worked for you. In the mean time, I'll continue doing my dance and praying for perseverance. If I don't keel over from my own anxiety attack, I'm throwing myself a party when the baby turns six.