They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
So maybe I’m insane.
You always hear about the “terrible twos”
Everyone talks about the “trying and terrible threes”
But, what you never seem to hear about are the(what I like to call) ferocious fours.
We actually never really dealt with terrible or trying twos and threes. Abigail has always been a sweet, gentle and obedient little girl. She was always motivated to obey just at the mere warning of discipline.
Not that we thought we were winning at this thing called parenting. We realize that it was just her personality. She wanted to obey- or, rather, she didn’t want to be punished, so she did what she was told.
And then something switched in year four.
I don’t know when, or why, or what, but four year old Abigail has been so, so trying. Hard. Really hard. And having Mabel seriously ramped it up.
Testing boundaries constantly, bad attitudes, tantrums, and more. All things that we’ve never dealt with before and make me feel like I’m lost in a forest without a compass.
Or treading water…poorly.
Or perhaps sinking in quicksand.
So Jim and I just keep plugging along at parenting and loving her as much as we can the best way we know how. Over and over again- but still the bad behavior continues and we don’t know if it’s one of those phase type things or one of those long term you don’t get to see the results for a while type things.
How can any of us know if we’re doing it right?
I haven’t ever had any thoughts or reservations about going from a family of three to a family of four. We waited so long for Mabel that the family dynamics changing was one I welcomed with open arms. And yet, the other day I was realizing that I hadn’t changed any of the pictures in the frames on our walls around the house. They’re all photos of just the three of us. And looking at them, I felt kind of sad and wistful.
Because that was back when Abigail was my buddy. And so sweet and happy and fun. And we did everything together just the two of us. Just enjoying each other. And when I think about how things have been with her, especially since Mabel arrived- I just see and feel how stinking hard things have been. It made me not want to change out any of the pictures.
So all of that to say, last week we were at the beach. And there was a definite change in Abigail’s demeanor. It’s not perfect(who’s is?) but I keep seeing big glimpses of my girl and the beautiful person that she is and the girl she is growing into.
I hear her sweet voice using her manners so politely. I see her sweet heart being the best big sister I’ve ever seen. I feel her gentle and unrelenting hugs that let us know how much she loves us and how much she still needs our presence close. I have so enjoyed playing with her and not having it ruined or having to stop by a choice she has made. I have loved listening to her stories and her ideas without having to reprimand her for what she says.
And, I think, that maybe, just maybe we haven’t been so crazy after all.
Maybe, these hard hard months are finally starting to turn a corner, and that the beautiful, growing girl that we’ve created is blossoming into something new. More grown every day. And more lovely altogether.
Have you gone through a trying time with your child? Any advice?