Back Talk 101.

How do you keep your head above water when your toddler begins to undermine everything you ask of them? Like, literally has something to say. All the time. Sometimes it feels like I'm arguing with a wall. A very stubborn wall.

Ellie has always been very talkative (she gets that from her father). And she has been independent and strong-willed from the beginning (traits she also gets from her father). So I knew it was coming. I just didn't expect to feel this helpless.

There are so many times when she is so good. I can ask her to do any task and I get "Oh, of course Mama!" And she hurriedly does what I request with a giggle and a smile on her face. And then there are the times when we argue in the car and she says, with one hand in the air like she is swearing an oath "Mom, this isn't about you. Listen to my words." I mean, that's great and all, but she isn't listening to my words either. And then the tells me I'm not the boss, her teachers are.

Is this when I feel guilty for working and sending her to daycare so young? Because now she values her teachers authority above my own? Or is this just a normal part of being a terrible two year old?

Does counting work? Not for me. She doesn't see any real consequences because when I reach "three" and put her in bed, she can get back out again. She sneers in timeout and tells us she would prefer to stay a little longer because she still needs to think about what she's done.

She does listen to her father. Frustrating for me because they are the same person, trapped in two different bodies. I can't reach her like he can. Just tonight, I was struggling at bedtime. He came in the room, told her to listen to me or she would go to bed with no stories and she rubbed her eyes and replied "Ok, Dad. Night night, love you." Just like that. I had been threatening asking to do the same thing for 30 very long minutes.

The other day we did start a new approach, and I hope it works: rather than referring to each other as "Mom" and "Dad" when she talks back, we are using "wife" and "husband" in response. For instance, rather than "don't talk to your mother that way" we are saying "that's my wife and you can't talk to her that way." The idea is that I'm not only Mom, the one who feeds and takes care of you, but I am also a person with feelings and I play an important role in other people's lives too.

Will this work? I have no idea. Is all of this a natural part of being a #toddler? I believe so. Is it hard? Yes. Does it make me want bang my head against the wall? Maybe.


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