Two Legit

I’ve been into Yung$tunna’s  room like 4 times tonight. He’s finally asleep, but not before making me eat so rough, I’m contemplating popping four more Biral for my nerves.

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He’s gotten into a new habit of wailing as soon as the lights are off and the door is closed. You go in, he wants a towel, or a toy, or an extra blanket, no, not that towel…nywe nywe until he’s so worked up we have to start the bedtime routine from scratch. Tonight, he’s snuggled with a tv remote, giant cowry shell,wooden truck, fluffy penguin, water bottle, two towels and three blankets.

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Usually, Alliancepartner handles BabyLeader’s bedtime while I handle TheOga (she’s 11 months old now, so she’s not so tiny anymore) and when he keeps getting sucked into His Majesty’s chambers over some manipulatears, I always side-eye him because I think he can be too lenient.

Me, when alliancepartner is dealing with bedtime wahala: Don’t pander to him. Don’t let him smell your weakness.

Me, when I’m dealing with bedtime wahala: I can’t let my baby cry like that!

The inverse also applies, by the way. I’m not the only Judgey McJudgerson. That is why it helps us to check in with each other and take turns to do annoying, frustrating parental duties, it breeds patience and understanding. The only way is to tag team the hell out of this thing. Kids are tricky.

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Our toddler is always trying his luck and being defiant while totally still being a baby at the same time, who needs patience and guidance.

He needs boundaries and discipline as much as he needs room to express himself, learn his lessons and be guided through the consequences of his actions as well.

We’ve discussed a variety of approaches and theories on how to survive the Terrible-Twos, but we actually had to just pay attention to the child in front of us, to develop a way that works for us as parents, and for who Yung $tunna is as a person.

1. Routine:

He’s very secure in his environment because we try to keep the basics the same on the daily. He always knows what is happening next. If there are any changes, we speak to him. We have found that if he is comfortable and familiar with what’s happening around him, he’s a lot more chilled.

What he learns:
– There is a time and place for everything.
– We’ve got his back.
– We see him.

What we learn:
– Consideration of his space, needs and feelings.
– The importance of communication.
– How to continually establish a stable and safe environment for him, and our family as a whole.

2. Consistency:

Once we say no, it’s (usually) no. So if he wants to do something and we say no, 8/10, we stick to it even if he screams. The rest of the time, we just give in because we want him to STFU or realise that it’s not that deep.

What he learns:
– There are rules.
– Tears don’t always count for shit
– We are in charge.
– We as parents can make mistakes and/or change our minds

What we learn:
– To be firm and honest.
– To set a precedent of the way our family works.
– A bit of flexibility is needed sometimes AKA don’t sweat the small stuff.

3. Fairness and Positive Affirmation:

We feel that it’s important to discipline in a way that our he understands that we can disapprove of certain actions while still totally loving him. We believe that discipline is not just about discouraging behaviour that has a negative impact, it is also about instilling a desire to behave in a way that is positive. Discipline is also about empathy which you can’t teach by telling, you can only teach by showing.

What he learns:
– Actions have consequences.
– Getting into trouble doesn’t mean he’s    not loved.
– To consider the impact of his behaviour on people around him.

What we learn:
– To use our words and tone carefully – say what we mean and mean what we say.
– To be mindful of our authority.
– To apologise when we are wrong or hurtful
– To comfort him when a tantrum turns to distress because he’s still learning himself, shame.

In a month’s time, before we have even been able to catch our breath, TheOga will be turning a year old, so we will be revising these lessons, while teaching and learning new ones, as her personality and character continue to take shape.

We are about to have two toddlers, and practically double Terrible-Twos, which is ok, I guess, because we will die once, and then come back to life just in time to have two teens. Khalil Gibran’s prose on children did *not* prepare us for this.

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