Terrible Twos and Sticky Sixes

I’ve been mothering for what seems like an eternity, and I have an eternity still to go. One of the good things about having this many kids is that nothing the newest child does comes as a surprise – unless, as Aya did last night,  its fishing out a used baby wipe from the toilet after being instructed NOT to flush any baby wipes down the toilet. (Guh-ross). As such, I feel much better equipped to care for my younger two than I did for the older two.

Stone is about to turn two in a month, and he’s got the Terrible Twos bad. I don’t know that he’s any worse than Nadjah or Aya was at that age, but I can say with some pride that I’m handling his diva tantrums with much more grace and dignity than I did with theirs. For instance, we were at the Post Office yesterday trying to get our passports and I had the foresight to lock him in his stroller. Previously I would have let him stand up and walk around because that’s what any child would have wanted…but I’ve learned that you can NEVER give a child what they want. You can only give them what they need and deserve, and if their desires coincide with those deserts, then hooray for all of us! Unfortunately, Stone has a 33 year old mommy, not the green 27 year old mommy Nadjah was lucky to inherit. So poor Stone, securely strapped and struggling to get out of his stroller, wailed mournfully and tried in vain to free himself from captivity. All the while, he looked at me with eyes that read something between pleading and contempt. I understand that it must be hard for an individual to find themselves straddling infancy and toddlerhood – eeking an existence by making grunting noises, hand gestures and rudimentary facial expressions, like a caveman suddenly transported to a modern age – but that doesn’t mean that I have to respond just as viscerally. This time around, I’ve taken my pediatricians advice and generally ignore his ill-timed fits. If he flings himself to the floor, I step over him. If he throws a toy I make him go pick it up. If he hurls his food, I calmly squeeze his hand and tell him “no”. My blood pressure is a LOT lower with this round of Terrible Twos. I can fight this war with one arm tied behind my back.

Oh, but the Sticky Sixes.

I am NOT ready for this battle.

Nadjah is very intelligent child (and what mom doesn’t think her child isn’t?) and that intelligent sometimes serves to her detriment. We’re struggling to learn how to read, and not just memorize the words on a page. A big part of this struggle is that everything hitherto has always come easy for her because she has a tremendous memory and is what? – > Really intelligent. But reading isn’t memorization…its reading. She also has a fear of failure or discovering that she is wrong in any regard. She cannot handle the news that her response is inaccurate, let alone wrong, and it’s horribly frustrating for me, because we’re on this merry-go-round where she guesses at what she thinks the right answer is instead of looking at the clues and logically come to the right answer. It’s generally in these moments where I have to choose to either awaken my inner Tiger Mother or the more dormant fraulein Maria. So far, Shir Khan has proven the conqueror, and I don’t know that it’s serving either of us very well. (500 MOM points to the first person who can name all the pop culture references in this sentence.)

Does anyone else have a strong-willed 6-7 year old? How are you coping with it? Go ahead and share, we’re all listening.