Something has happened in the past couple of weeks – I’m not sure what or when this occured but it has been replaced with a two year old’s frustration. My two year’s frustration. At times it feels like it never stops and she seems to have heightened emotions about so many things during the day. For a while I had been a bit embarrassed about it, particularly as Emma seems to like lying horizontal, face down on the floor during these times. But the other day at the park, an empathetic Dad changed my mind.
We arrived at the park and it was empty, so Emma decided she wanted to go on the swings. We always start here whenever we visit the park, and usually soon after she wanders off to explore the slide or the roundabout. But on that day, it was all about the swings so we stayed for a bit but soon enough there were several children wanting to play on them too. So I asked Emma if we should try something new. She firmly said no, but after a while long I felt bad for the people waiting and got her out. We went over to the sandpit but she ran back over and stood there crying in front of another toddler until she got off the swings. The Dad said to me “two and a half?” I nodded. He gave Emma a tissue and said “yep, I’ve got two of them – one in each flavour” (looking at his twins) “it really is tough”. I remember thinking to myself, thank goodness it’s not just me.
Since Emma was a baby, I noticed how emotive she can be. When she gets upset, it feels like the worst thing in the world to her, she is fiercely independent and wants to do it all alone. For a while, this frustration she feels used to upset me too, but now I know that it’s just part of her growing up. Things have already changed dramatically as she can tell me much more using her words, but there’s still a way to go. That frustration manifests and I can see her looking up to the older children climbing the spider ropes at the park, and pointing to it as if to say “I want to do that!”. I want her to truly understand that one day she will. After all it feels like yesterday I would be helping her every step of the way and now she’s so much more mobile and doesn’t need mummy guiding her.
Yet even though this is just a phase, I want to help her as much as I can – so what should I do?
I know that Emma is a carrot not a stick kind of girl. I’ve been reading up on it recently and I’m just going to keep talking, keep explaining. I’ve been so surprised lately how much the little things really register and I’m hoping that by reassuring her a lot, it will help along the way. She’s still so young and I know there are a lot of changes in her life – she’ll shortly be moving up to the ‘toddler’ room at nursery and even settling her into this room has thrown up another layer of uncertainty for her. In the meantime, I keep repeating to myself all the cliches in the book, like ‘this too will pass’ and will be taking lots of deep breaths as I wait for the frustration she feels to fade. And it will pass, of course it will.