At the beginning of the year, one of my resolutions was to find more joy in motherhood. At the time we were in the throes of the terrible twos, and well, now we're in the throes of the terrifying threes, which, in my experience, has not been nearly as difficult as the terrible twos were, so it's easier to find the joy. Angelica, at age three, has the ability to occasionally use logic and reasoning which means that we have fewer power struggles. But oh, the ones we do wind up having are epic.
Anyway, last night I was preparing dinner, I heard quite a commotion coming from Angelica's room. When I got to a point I could pause the cooking process (and, since what I was making really just consisted of me heating up the oven, so Angelica was only unsupervised for maybe three minutes at most) I went to see what she was up to....and what I saw left me completely floored.
Had I not been so shocked, I probably would have remembered to grab my camera and take a picture.
In a span of two minutes, she had emptied out her entire toy organizer/box and was in the process of throwing the toys around the room, like a spinning tornado, ripping through her room and leaving a path of destruction in her wake. I had never, ever seen such a mess in her room before.
Now, one of the only power struggles we have with Angelica is getting her to clean. Sometimes she is really, really good about it, but other times she just wants to play...and come on, she's THREE, what else can you expect? So I told her she could play, but after dinner she would need to clean up her toys.
During baking time, I sat down and did a letter matching game with her and we had SO MUCH FUN. She can now match her upper and lowercase letters. Oh, and math! It's her new favorite thing. She loves addition. She will group things together and add them up. Like one group of two toys, and another group of three? She will group them, and then say, "two plus three is FIVE!" This girl loves learning and she is just like a little sponge, soaking it all up. It makes me such a proud mama!
But, while that was super fun, after dinner when it came time to actually clean up the aftermath of her destruction? Queue power struggle.
Thirty minutes into the process, I found myself telling her very firmly (and maybe a bit louder than I normally would) "Angelica, I am SO serious! If any toys are left on the floor, I WILL call the garbage man to get them!"
To which she replied by cracking up and saying:
"Mommy, you're yelling at me! It's so funny when you yell at me! You laugh me so much!" (People don't make her laugh, they "laugh" her.)
Clearly, the seriousness in my firm mommy voice was NOT getting through.
Later that night, after a few more power struggles ("No, we can't skip brushing our teeth." "No, it's not okay for you to throw a cup of water at me." "No, it's past your bed time, we cannot color.", "No, we just brushed your teeth, you cannot have chocolate milk.") She said, "Mommy! I know you want to yell at me, but you CAN'T." The funny thing is, that time, I wasn't yelling at her, so maybe she was cautioning me not to?
Long story short, her room got clean AND we got through the bedtime routine, ending with smiles and giggles and hugs and kisses. When all was said and done, those moments are a total joy and make the occasional power struggles worth it. But when Scott got home last night, I told him...there are some nights that parenting kicks ass, and other nights where it kicks your ass, and last night was one of the latter.