Today my daughter decided that it’s pointless to take a nap. My first thought: “There goes my work schedule.” as I always use those two hours to try and get things done. Instead of panicking, I took her out of bed and took her into mine. I figured if she doesn’t want to do something it’s fine as long as she plays quietly in my bed while I work.
Toddlers have their own way of doing things and you can fight them, but the only thing you will accomplish is a lot of dead neurons and stretched nerves. I used to be like that. She used to drive me nuts when she didn’t want to eat. She used to keep her food in her mouth for minutes in a row, refusing to swallow, until smoke came out of my ears like you see in cartoons. Of course I would raise my voice, of course I would want to shove that food down her throat and of course the only one who suffered in the end was me: I was the one regretting for raising my voice at her for nothing and I was the one who wasted our time together just because she didn’t feel like eating that second. In time I got better and understood it was pointless and that you can never win a battle against a toddler. Their habits constantly change and you forget about all that pain you used to go through congratulating yourself that you remained calm.
Now Ephia’s not eating phase returned and I am discovering a saner and much calmer person inside myself. Instead of getting mad I just let her be and after a while she comes asking for food. Instead of raising my voice I smile and ask if she is hungry and if she says no I remove the plate and let her play. I feel much better, she feels much better and we can smile at each other without feeling any remorse: she because she didn’t upset her mom again and I… well, I because I don’t get angry anymore.
As I am writing this with a funny Donald Duck hat placed by Ephia on my head, she is looking into the screen and sings to me while stroking my hair. You tell me, how can I get mad about that?