Tuesday, January 8, 2013

That Was a Lie

Okay, maybe not an outright lie…not a bald-faced lie…bigger than a little white lie though…really more a lie by omission…a misleading truth if you will…

What am I talking about? In my last post when I wrote that the predominant emotion for 2012 was Confidence…that was misleading…when I was looking back over the whole year, I struggled to pin point one emotion…2010 & 2011 were so easy to define…but 2012, it took a lot of thought…I wrote numerous variations before settling on Confidence & hitting publish, substituting many emotions & explanations.

The cause of this indecision is the last 2 months…it seems that Elena has taken the term “Terrible Twos” to heart as it feels like she’s gone bat-shit crazy since turning 20 months. These last 2 months have taken the Confidence I found in the first 10 months of 2012 & obliterated it.

It feels dishonest to me that I haven’t blogged about it before now but it’s been a slow burn building. I was so caught up in planning our trip then sharing about our trip…I didn’t want to mar my Christmas posts with negativity…plus the Sandy Hook Tragedy really walloped me when I was already feeling so emotionally fragile.

I was (and still am) really scared to write about it all…I don’t want to admit out loud what I’ve already concluded in my head…but it’s killing me keeping it inside…and yet I sit here & still just can’t make my fingers type what I need to say. It’s part of my personality to always put on a brave happy face…try to paint every situation in a positive light…tell people what I think they want to hear…I’ve been more honest here on my blog than I ever thought myself capable but even as I reread past posts, I see where I didn’t fully reveal how I was feeling or hid behind sarcasm giving a post a lighter note than what I really felt.

I have to be brutally honest now because I really need support & I need advice & I need encouragement & just admitting those things is almost as hard as admitting that…I’m failing as a mother. I’m failing Elena & I’m failing myself. It’s killing me. The only thing I ever deeply & desperately wanted was to be a mother. I was so sure I would be so good at it. Being a mother has made me feel complete. Being a mother has given purpose to my life. To realize that I’m failing is killing me. Elena deserves better. I love her beyond comprehension & that is how I know that she deserves better than me. If I’m doing so poorly now, how are we going to get thru the next 2, 5, 10, 18 years.

The Issues

She’s hitting still…mostly just me…we were doing really well for so long…until 2 months ago…she hits usually out of anger or frustration but often, out of the blue, for no discernible reason at all. Like the other night: I just got her out of the bath & was drying her off. We were playing a variation of peek-a-boo with the towel making crazy faces & she was laughing hysterically. We were having such a great time, face to face, both of us laughing…then she smacks me…HARD…right across the face. WHY? It hurt my heart more than my face for sure but why would she hit me? When she hits out of anger or frustration I get that…it’s not okay & I tell her so but I get it…why does she hit me in the midst of fun? Nothing I do, no technique I try, seems to impress upon her that hitting is NOT okay….that is our worst issue.

She fights going to sleep at night. She fights it with every fiber of her being no matter how tired she is…aside from all the delay tactics & shenanigans prior to settling down, once she’s drifting off, she’ll literally shake herself, shake her head to wake herself up. I suspect that this is a manifestation of separation anxiety since she knows that 5 mornings out of 7 I’ll be gone when she wakes up. It got worse after us being away together for a whole week & now again after I was home over Christmas. I tried the “Super Nanny Technique” (that’s where I learned it) where I put her in bed, tell her good night, kiss her & leave. When she gets out of bed the 1st time, I tell her good night & walk her back to bed…the 2nd time & subsequently after that I just walk her back to bed without talking to her (theory is she’s looking to engage me & by refusing she gets the point)…it did work & she put herself to sleep in bed but in the last 2 months, it’s become a game that she can keep up for hours (7-11pm or longer) at which point I am exhausted & just want to go to bed myself. I have tried putting her to bed earlier, based on the theory that she’s over tired, to no avail…Since we don’t use a crib, I’ve even tried putting a gate on the bedroom door & attempted CIO. I couldn’t…I just couldn’t. I tried cutting out her afternoon nap, which worked in that she conked out at bedtime but she was a grouchy horror show between mid afternoon & bedtime, she really needs that afternoon nap…though I am strict in only letting her sleep 1 hour & never past 2pm or else we’re doomed for sure at bedtime. Some nights out of pure exhaustion I just go to bed with her which isn’t a habit I want her to get use to either…not that it works anyway & I’m sure that I’m asleep before she is.

She is purposefully disobedient. She does things she KNOWS she’s not allowed, touches things she KNOWS she’s not supposed to…I know this is not unique to Elena, that all kids do this…but no amount of discipline seems to get thru to her…& there’s another issue, the frustration I have with the lack of discipline options I have for her age. She’s too young to understand long term punishment, there has to be immediate consequence. I can’t wait until she’s old enough to be given time out & understand it…how awful is that. I do use positive encouragement, catching her doing good things & heap on the praise, telling her how proud I am when she listens or obeys or asks nicely, etc. It does seem to have an effect & gives me hope.

The bottom line is my patience…its wearing thin. Don’t think I’m giving up, I never will. I will always keep going & trying to do better. It’s just that I feel so defeated that all the techniques & ideas I had about this phase aren’t working. I’m frustrated that I can’t reason with Elena. I’m hurt that she lashes out at me even when we’re having a good time. I’m ashamed that I lose my temper with her.

Now that I’ve written it all out, the issues seem so much smaller than they did in my head. But that doesn’t change how badly I’m dealing with it all. Why can’t I get thru to her? Why can’t I make her understand? Why doesn’t anything work? I’m failing. Am I a bad mother? No, absolutely not. Am I a good one? It doesn’t feel like it.


  1. Oh my gosh, you are being MUCH too hard on yourself! Everything you describe Elena doing is perfectly, totally normal for her age. Many kids go through a hitting stage, Fiona went through a biting stage as well. I'd guess that when Elena hits you in the middle of having fun, it's just a burst of emotion she's getting out (even if good emotion) that she doesn't quite know how to express. Or something like that.

    We ALL lose our patience, and our temper from time to time. It sounds like you just need to figure out ways to give yourself more breaks. A big help certainly would be figuring out how to fix the bedtime problem. I'm going to encourage you to really reconsider whether you could do CIO with her, confining her with the baby gate (a crib is really helpful in this situation). I got a fortitude for going that route from reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. What's worse for her - a few nights of crying (which NO research has shown to be harmful) or continuing such high levels of stress and frustration every evening? I'm sure you'll get other responses from people with more creative ideas but me. But seriously - SERIOUSLY - you are doing a great job. This parenting gig is just very, very hard sometimes.

  2. I so wish I had advice for you, but as you know B is younger than Elena so all I can do is offer support! As you know I'm terrified of the toddler years - I'm so afraid I'm not even going to like my currently awesome baby anymore - but I sometimes comfort myself with the thought that I've known lots of shall we say "unpleasant" toddlers who have since grown up to be delightful children. This stuff really is just a phase and as Claire pointed out totally developmentally normal. I'm trying to steel myself for these times by preparing not to take anything he does personally or as a sign I'm failing. The one good thing about this age is you can correct any parenting mistakes fairly easily and not have to worry about doing "permanent damage" (a term that strikes fear in my heart). I guess all of this is to say - hang in there!

  3. I don't have any concrete suggestions to add, but I did want to echo the above posts and just say that there is NO WAY you are "failing" your daughter.

    It sounds like you are at a really tough stage and are at your wit's end, but you are a loving mom who is concerned about how to age appropriately set boundaries and is being creative and flexible and not giving up.

    No failure there! Just a lot of frustration and heartache, anyone who has parented a toddler gets!

    Hang in there. Be gentle with yourself. It won't last forever, at least this we know :)

    Tara, mom to a very strong-willed 18-month old girl!

  4. No, no, no -- you cannot judge your job of parenting based on the behaviour of a toddler -- a toddler in a growth period at that. She is testing boundaries, testing how to get your attention, testing how far she can push things in her world. And beyond that, you have to take into account every child's unique personality. So Ms. X's child can sit quietly and play with a single toy for an hour? Goody for her. But just because she can do that doesn't mean all children can or should do that. You can only look at this from the viewpoint of Elena's norm.

    What is her personality, and how can you work with that personality? You know how there are people at work that you deal with one way and other people that you deal with another way. I can think of someone in my life that I am as sweet as pie to because I need her to do certain things for me. And another person who I am a bull in a china shop with because that's what she responds to. Elena has a personality too, and you have to negotiate within that personality.

    I do like Elizabeth Pantley's books in case you're looking for one to read. I will say that every child is different, so what works for some won't work for others. But they may help you gather ideas. I really like her book Perfect Parenting because it's broken down into specific situations.

    But more than anything, Elena will change and grow. She won't always be this frustrating. It won't always be this draining. And even if you go back into a rough stage, you'll take with you coping techniques you're building now.

    Sending a huge hug.

    1. What Mel said. Right around this age all the moms in my local moms group were losing it. It's crazy hard. I liked 1, 2, 3 Magic. Hang in there. It gets better.

  5. I am SO with you right now. Finn is hitting 20 months and he's suddenly become a terror. I completely relate. I just don't feel like a good toddler mom. Luckily I have friends with toddlers a little older than Finn, and it's helped me to see that we're just going through a rough patch, and it will get easier. I've seen it, I know it will.

    I can share what I do for sleep - I rock him to sleep, every night. I know some day he'll be old enough to just put in his bed and go to sleep, but right now, he goes to sleep so much faster with rocking, and it's just worth it (it usually takes 20-40 minutes). I read in one of the sleep books that if you were willing to rock them when they're little, that it really is ok. The idea is that eventually we'll go from rocking to me just sitting by his bed, and then eventually leaving him to sleep (I'm anticipating that's a year away! LOL) He does the same thing with fighting sleeping and shaking himself awake, but it's harder for him to resist when we're rocking in a dark room with the white noise on.

  6. I'm on my cell phone and hate posting comments from here. It takes too long. Sorry this will be brief. SR is hitting me now too. It's normal. I usually take her hands and show her my serious face and tell her she hurt mommy. I say "no hitting" and I ask her to say sorry. It usually takes several minutes until she takes me seriously and apologizes. Then we hug and she usually says "I feel so much better."

    With discipline I try to focus on the positive only. When she listens we get a sticker and she puts it in her pod listening paper on the fridge. She reminds me now when she's doing good listening.

    We are new parents. We try different strategies and see if they work in our family situations. That's the best we can do. But you are a wonderful mother. You are too hard on yourself. This is a phase that will pass.


  7. Where are you failing? Sounds like you're a mama to me. None of us have it figured out till it hits us out of nowhere that whatever we just did worked. That doesn't mean all effort and frustration and loss of patience till then equals failing.
    I don't have advice for you though. I have a strong willed 22 month old. I'm working on discipline myself. I'm (trying to be) consistent with our guidelines, give him time to sit and we talk it over (rather than time out), I try to keep him engaged in some way and I try to think of what he could be thinking when he does something and then I act from there. Half the time (ok probably all the time) it's because he wants to and wants to see what I'll do. He knows what to do same as Elena I'm sure so we're dealing one step, issue and (long) day at a time. I think they'll move through this as long as we're consistent and strong with them.

  8. I understand your feelings of failure, but believe me you're not failing her. While I'm not an expert and Annelise hasn't hit that stage yet from what I know about child development and having worked in pediatrics for several years Elena's behavior is well within the range of normal. They call it the terrible twos for a reason. And from my experience and what I've read on other blogs recently it seems that 20 months is when it starts to happen. My patient tonight is actually a 20 month old, and there were times when I had to say to myself "not your child, you can't strangle him." Not that I would ever hurt a child, but man he was awful.

    As far as the hitting I think a lot of kids go through that. I know a lot of my nieces and nephews did. Again I'm not an expert but I think part of it is just learning to interact. I don't think most kids realize that hitting hurts, because after all we don't hit them back. Since she's hit both at times of anger and frustration and when she is laughing, my uneducated guess would be that she's attempting to physically express her emotions, and she just doesn't know the appropriate way to do that. I think patience and redirecting that energy is key to getting through that phase (and maybe a stiff drink).

    And as for the sleep and bedtime issues. I think you're on to something in thinking that it could be some sort of separation anxiety. Unfortunately I don't have any advice as to how to correct it. In my "professional" opinion the best way to deal with a child that won't go to bed is to have a set routine and a bedtime that is the same every night. Whenever I see patients who's biggest complaint is that their child won't go to bed I ask what time is bedtime. If the parent says "Well they don't have a set time, or some nights it's this time and other nights is this time." I want to tell them they don't need a sleep study they need a bedtime. I think the "Super Nanny thing" is a good approach, and she's at an age where a little CIO isn't going to hurt her.

    And be gracious to yourself. This is hard. We all lose our patience, become frustrated and sometimes feel like were failing. You're doing a great job, hang in there {{HUGS}}

  9. Off the top of my head, I don't have any advice either (serious mommy brain today). But I wanted to say that it sounds like you are doing everything right and you have NOTHING to be ashamed of. I don't think people are honest enough about how hard parenting is, making people feel inadequate when it seems overwhelming. I never wanted to do CIO either, but have had to at times with my twins (still little) to keep my sanity. Hang in there and always know that your blog is your safe place to share the good AND the bad.

  10. I'm gonna write my two cents and then go back and read the other comments. First off, I thought the same thing as I got to the end of your post - that THIS is it?? That's not to take away from what you are going through, but just know that these issues don't seem that bad, and sure as hell don't mean you are failing as a mother!! That being said, we are/have gone through many of the same things, and I've felt the same way. In Chloe's 17 month post going up tomorrow I mention that she has started to head butt. She doesn't hit much, but her acting out is in the form of head butting, whether it's me, the dog, the wall, whatever. I think b/c she's lacking on words, she gets very frustrated when we don't know what she wants. Then if she really gets mad, she grabs her face and scratches it. WTH? I hate that she does that, she's only hurting herself.

    You've probably mentioned it before, but why don't you use a crib? Seems a bit backwards now, but would it be worth it to try one and see if the sleep issues get any better?

    When Chloe gets into things she knows she's not supposed to, mainly electronics, we try to distract her with something else. Give her a toy and walk her away from it and see if that works. She may walk right back over to it again, but if you stay consistent with how you handle the situation, hopefully over time she'll get the message.

    Don't feel like you can't ever be honest in your own space. I know it can be hard to admit defeat sometimes, but I don't see that being the case here. You are simply asking for advice and I'm all about advice from mom's who have kids the same age as my own. You are and always have done a great job with her!! You are a good mama!!

  11. Ok for one thing I think it's part of being female to always want to put on a good front, make everyone else think everything is great. It's how many of us were raised. Always be pleasant, helpful, always say yes you can even when you shouldn't. Sometimes it takes a while for us to realize that we don't always have to put up that front that all is rosy and fine when its really not.
    I admit that as someone who isn't a parent I don't have much parenting advice, but maybe seeking out a mothers group or someone with older kids whose been there.

  12. First... This too shall pass.

    Second... You are most certainly NOT failing as a mother!!

    Third... It sounds as though Elena is a somewhat of a strong-willed little girl. And there's really nothing wrong with that - I bet she'll do great things in her life. But it does mean that she can be frustrating and difficult to deal with sometimes. My daughter is only five months, so I can't speak from experience, but I do work with children and know child development. Set limits, be consistent, and follow through (i.e. if you say something will/won't happen if she does ___ again, be sure to follow through - if you won't follow through, just don't say it in the first place). Make sure she knows you mean what you say. Maybe try concrete rewards for a while. Get a basket of small prizes, or a few favorite toys, put it on top of the fridge, and give her something when she listens, doesn't hit, etc. Then wean off of that system once her behavior is better. But honestly, what she's doing is so typical of many, many toddlers. Show her what to do instead of hitting. Especially if it's when she's having fun and laughing - block the hit, if you can, and tell her that she can give mama a hug instead since she's so happy. Or try to have her use her words (if she has them) to tell you when she's upset, instead of hitting. Or give her an appropriate thing to hit - if she's very frustrated or mad and "needs" to hit to get that emotion out, she can hit a pillow.

    I'm having trouble getting Jordyn to bed at night, too, at only five months. She fights it, and while I do rock her to sleep, she'll be out cold in my arms, and then open her eyes the second she hits the crib mattress. And we start all over again. It's been getting worse lately, and I'm honestly terrified of what this is going to mean when she's a toddler. All this to say - you're not alone!

    Hang in there... Elena will grow out of this phase, and with your excellent (seriously) guidance, discipline, and love, it'll hopefully be sooner rather than later. I'm so sorry you're having a difficult time right now. But you know what? I bet a year or so from now, I'm going to be counting on you to help me get through this stage with my little one!

  13. First off, bravo to you for being brave and honest in your post! I know that was hard for you.

    And I had to smile because of course you are right, when you write it out, it doesn't look that bad. Elena is acting like a difficult toddler.

    I'm not there so I can't say whether what she's doing is "normal" or not. It sounds like it is, but I guess some of that depends on how often she is out of control.

    I really liked Claire's advice. Particularly as pertains to CIO. Neither of you are getting the rest you need right now, and that is making everything so much worse. Whether you use a crib or a baby gate or a locked door... do it. Seriously. You need some boundaries for both of you.

    For the rest, well, I haven't BTDT as Calliope is a few months behind Elena. But being consistent sounds like great advice. And I agree that her hitting when she's excited is because she's just so overwhelmed with emotion, even positive, that she has to let it out.

    How is her ability to speak? Is she frustrated that she can't speak as well as she wants to? Is that part of her acting out? WOuld it be possible to teach her a few signs?

    I've been working on the sign for "help" in hopes that it will help prevent tantrums.

  14. A failure? Mama-girlfriend if you're a failure then I'm a failure times 100. Maybe even a 1000. I'm so constantly shocked by how very angry I can get with Tate when he spins out of control. Because they push and push and push and don't see that you're winding up for a crash.

    I don't have any BTDT with the going to sleep thing because at 3y6m Tate is still in his crib and though he's known how to climb in and out for months he stays put thus far. But I will agree with other posters...can you get your crib back? I know several parents who have had to re-institute the crib for a couple of months, certainly their kiddos could still climb out but for some reason those bars instill some sort of 'hmmm, my parents mean business' and the crib goes away again after those couple of months. If you don't have your crib I think you should lock the door and do not go back in, go about your night...make some noise doing dishes or laundry so she knows you are still close by but don't go back in. I did a small CIO the month Tate turned 2 because he suddenly started crying at bedtime. After 3 nights of crying for 10 minutes or so he figured it out. It was not hysterical crying like that of an infant and I wasn't worried that he was going to be stressed like those studies suggested. I am not a proponent of sleep training infants (but have no issue for those who do it)I believed firmly that at this age they don't 'need' the comfort of the parent in this situation of "I don't want to go to sleep". They need to learn there is a time to sleep and a time be awake.

    How does she do when someone else puts her down for the night? Or do you go out after she's asleep usually? Maybe hire one of your normal sitters for a night or two...you go out with friends and enjoy your well-deserved drink..and let them put her to bed. Really...do it. Let someone else deal with bedtime. If she does this same business you know you need to try some different tactics at bedtime; if she cooperates you'll know she's playing you. :)

    But with all things in child-rearing and in life, nothing stays the same. I think we parents forget that...we get in a groove and something works so we keep on keeping on. Then we hit 40 and eating 3 chocolate bars a day goes to our bum or we turn 22 months and going to sleep doesn't seem like the best idea anymore. The 40 year old needs to eat only 2 chocolate bars and the 22 month old needs a different bedtime routine...totally different.

    Good luck up there north of the Mason Dixon line!! Many hugs coming your way!

  15. Ok there are a ton of comments and I am sure they are all good! I ahven't had a chance to read them all so I apologize if I repeat things.

    1. YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOTHER!! She is a toddler. She is testing her boundaries. My aunt helped me with this the most when Elsie hit a bad spot a couple months ago. She told me "It is her job to test boundaries and it is your job to give those boundaries." For me understanding this wasn't about me or my mothering or even my child or her temperment... This is about a NORMAL part of growing up! So keep being consistent. whatever you do doesn't matter, just keep doing it.

    2. The sleeping... Else and I have gone through this and continue to go through it. for us, we had to do CIO. It SUCKED!! I ended up taking the elevator to the basement of the building once for 5 mintues (when I knew she was safe in her crib) to get away from the screaming. But in retrospect, I only wish I had done it earlier!! If I have #2, poor kid is doing CIO right away!!

    3. As to the hitting, Elsie does this too. In fact, I've never seen her hit when angry. it's only when she is ahppy and we are goofing around. Remember they have no empathy right now. They have no clue that they might hurt you or anyone else. It is just a way to get out all the excitement and joy. I ususally grab Elsie's hand when she starts swinging, hold it and try to give her another outlet byt saying something like "I know you are having fun but we don't hit. Instead why don't you squeal" then I squeal for her to show her what I mean. It hasn't worked perfectly but I find it helps. (And thank day care for this solution... They had me model behavior when Elsie had a couple biting incidents."

  16. Hi. Here from the round up.
    I know what you are going through. It is hard. No, make it HARD. The hitting. The sleep. The defiance. The general feeling of failure. Been there. Deed it. All.
    The good news is IT GETS BETTER. In a couple of months it will get better. My almost 2.5 years son is now an absolute delight. Of course, there are the occasional hitting when he gets over enthusiastic. He sometimes kicks his little brother. O does something else completely illogical that takes the wind out of my sails. But it is so much rare now, and it is usually in the evening, when he grows tired and doesn't know how to wind down.
    Still, overall, he actually helps us now. He is great with his little brother (apart the kicking episodes:-)). He listens. He understands and he listens, usually after he sees that what we suggest is beter than what he does.

  17. Sorry, blogspot froze me out.
    So, yes, it was so hard to believe we would get through this fog that is the beginning of social training. But we did. As did so many others before us. As will many after us. As will you.
    Grit your teeth. Trudge through the days. Try to remain calm. When you can't, remember you are only human.
    You will get through this. I know it is hard to believe, but you will.
    And you are not a failure. You are a mum. And many times you will feel like a failure because you want to be perfect and you are judging yourself too harsh.
    You are the best mum for you child.
    You will be alright. Do whatever you need to cope and get through the hard times. It does get better. :-)

  18. I could have written this post a year ago. Practically word for word. You never have to feel alone in this. Many if not most moms feel this way ESPECIALLY when dealing with a toddler. You are a GREAT mom. One of the very best on the planet. Still it's important to talk about the not-so-great parts of parenthood. Once you stop the negative thoughts from swirling around in your head and see them in print, you realize that it's all within the normal range and this is simply a valley to walk through. It gets better. There will be really good days and then there will be not so good days again. But we are humans parenting humans. It going to get messy.

    Elena loves you with all her heart. You are a caring, conscientious mom who would do anything for her child. I'm thinking that's a pretty good start to family life.

  19. Oh, I could write a book in response to this post. My daughter is 4 and I still have days like this all the time, where I feel totally inadequate. I remember a day trying to toilet train my twins when I just broke down in the bathroom when they were both sitting on their little potty chairs and begging them to just...poop...in...the....potty...PLEASE. I've had days when I was convinced that my children were the most horrible, heartless little monsters in the world.

    There are days when I know I am doing everything right, there are days when I know I am doing something wrong, or at least something that isn't working. Thankfully, my mother worked in pre school for decades and I know what truly horrifically BAD parenting is. There are a million shades of truly wonderful and good parenting, but only one really bad one. I believe in my heart of hearts that if you love, love, love your children and don't hurt them they will be ok. And in most cases, much better than ok.

  20. I don't have any parenting advice, but I appreciate your honesty in this post and just wanted to offer support. You are a great Mom and doing a wonderful job.

  21. Glad that writing this post, those things that seemed so much bigger in your head, now look smaller.
    And I am sure you were told in the other comments (sorry for not reading them), but I will say it again - You are no failing Elena! You are doing a great job trying to cope with what is known as the "terrible twos" - not an easy time.

    As for the things you brought up - regarding the hitting, if she hits when she is playing too, to me it sounds like she doesn't fully understand what hitting is. It is not because you are a bad mother! [and yes, I get how very insulting it is].
    With sleep - I know this is not a solution that is good for everyone, but with us going to sleep has become so much easier ever since I let her decide when she wants to go to sleep. From a certain time in the evening I ask her if she wants to go to sleep and tell her I'll be on the computer, letting her know that she can be awake, but mummy is not going to be/play with her. She mostly asks now to go to sleep fairly early and usually she goes straight to sleep (I nurse her to sleep).
    As for being disobedient, for example is she is drawing on the wall, I would tell her no, you mustn't draw on the wall, but here is a paper, you can draw on the paper. Because they understand the parent is cross but can't figure how to do it better, so by giving them the option I am giving it to them.

    But these are my ways and things I believe in. It doesn't mean these solutions will work for you. Hopefully something helps from all the comments. But whatever works or doesn't work, it does by no mean anything about what kind of mother you are! You are a great mother to Elena, in fact you are the BEST mother Elena could ever have, and never forget that!!

  22. OMG -- just reading this now (hard to find any time for anything these days). My heart goes out to you. They don't call it the terrible twos for nothing! Michelle is only 6 months but I can relate to almost all of it. She hits me from time to time(though I have to assume it's accidental because she's so hyper) and kicks me. She FIGHTS SLEEP. Even when she's dead-tired she will not fall asleep. She complains instead. She's deliberately defiant -- I tell her not to turn over on her tummy on the changetable. She screams and screams until I reach for something for a second and take my hand off her then she rolls over and grins at me as if to say "Nah nah nah nah nah!" I can't imagine when she's 2! She's already so difficult. Some days I doubt myself too. I think it's natural as a Mom to have this guilt/worry/doubt/unattainable standards built in. Some days are really hard. But then you have those beautiful moments and good days that make it all worth it. Go easier on yourself. And know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
    We really should get together and talk sometime! I tried to email you but I don't have Outlook and it wouldn't let me. (Techno-savvy I am NOT.) My email is ampmusic1@gmail.com if you can email me. There aren't a lot of people who can relate to the trials of being a single Mom. It would be nice to talk to someone who understands. Cheers, Ann Marie


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