For years now, I have always laughed inside at how people are so excited about their child’s milestones. It seems that babies are now popping out the womb walking, holding up their head and saying their first words. I mean seriously, I feel like they (whoever they is) need to update the milestone charts and adapt it to the times. Maybe it is just me, but I feel like kids are just doing everything sooner and developing much quicker these days. Even with my own kids, I am often in shock with the things they say and do at such young ages. For me, I sometimes forget how young my kids are and have to remind myself that they are really still just babies.
I was in the kitchen finishing up dinner and, out of the corner of my eye, I see Makenzie walk in the kitchen and throw something away. Those of you who know toddlers, know that you always need to verify what they are throwing away, because I swear, they are the reasons for all our missing silverware. So, as soon as I see her, I ask what she just threw away. She calmly and nonchalantly responds, “the glass fell so I threw it away”. Immediately, I am like WHAT?! Glass???? I look in the trash and sure enough, there is a huge piece of broken glass that she just put in there (see picture below). Vic hears and runs out of the bedroom, as we both race to the back room where Makenzie and Brayden were playing together. I immediately realize the glass is from a picture hanging on the wall. Vic and I check the area for more glass and clean it up. All is good. As we walk out the room, I say “What 3-year-old just calmly handles sharp glass like it’s nothing and goes back to playing?” Immediately, this post was birthed.
I realized, though Makenzie is smart as a whip and as vocal as they come, she is still a 3-year-old. She is not always rational. She is not always wise for her age. She makes silly 3-year-old decisions and often makes no sense. She was her regular 3-year-old self when she picked up that sharp piece of glass and walked out the room to throw it away without letting me know what had just happened. She didn’t understand the dangers of dealing with a sharp piece of glass. In that moment she did about as much as could be expected of a 3-year-old.
This is something I am always striving to remember. I often find myself frustrated at her actions instead of just realizing she’s doing what she is supposed to be doing at this age. Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time”. I never thought I would be applying this quote to parenthood, but seriously it fits! Toddlers do toddler things. A 3-year-old is a 3-year-old, regardless of how “advanced” you think he or she might be. A child’s actions, as a whole, speak for who they really are and as parents we can’t forget that. When Makenzie is whining and crying over spinach being in her food, or throwing a tantrum, or unraveling all of my tape from the dispenser, despite my irritation, she is doing what children her age do. If she was 15 and doing these things, it would be an issue…but she’s not. She’s 3 and she’s right on par for her age.
This should be my cue to relax. Instead of getting all worked up, stressed and yelling, I need to chill and just shake my head at the annoying, yet appropriate, actions of my 3-year-old.
I feel like this lesson even extends beyond kids. We can all recount a time where we were upset, mad, irritated or pissed about something when whatever was happening was 100% appropriate for that specific situation or time. Something as simple as rush-hour traffic can ruin a person’s whole day. The silly thing is, when you do the math and consider what is really going on in rush-hour, it is completely normal and there is no reason to let it disrupt your day.
I admit, I can’t say I am 100% ready for the level of maturity and rationalism this type of thinking takes, but I know my life would be much less stressful if I could finally get this! In times of frustration (with kids or other life happenings), I want to be able to stop and ask myself “is this normal?” “is this appropriate?” or “is it really that serious?”. I bet, most often, the answer to these questions would be Yes, yes, and no (respectively).
So the next time your 2-year-old dumps his applesauce all over your nice fluffy rug just remind yourself, ISSA TODDLER…LOL. And the next time your day is just not going as planned, remind yourself that whatever you are experiencing is likely normal and it really isn’t the end of the world!