Oh no! I have a “spirited” child!

spirited child

I’m pretty sure that toddlers are the spawn of the devil. Something happens to their little bodies when they become mobile, and they morph into little lumps of attitude and opinions that never stop moving.

I had deluded myself into thinking that James was an “easy” kid. You know, the kind that laughs all the time and adjusts to new people and situations easily and just generally goes with the flow. But, at some point in the last two weeks, my easy-going little boy has become a monster. He has too many opinions and most of them are in direct opposition to ours.

He thinks it’s okay to climb onto the hearth and into the fireplace. It’s not.

He thinks it’s okay to throw his toys across the room. It’s not.

He thinks it’s okay to climb onto the couch and walk across it. It’s not.

He thinks it’s okay to hit and slap. It’s not.

He thinks it’s okay to run away when I try to grab his hand. It’s not.

Week nights are the worst. He’s tired from a long day at daycare, and he doesn’t want to do anything but what he wants to do. And most of what he wants to do involves the high probability of a head injury. He has absolutely zero fear of anything which makes for very exciting evenings filled with “no” and “don’t.” To which he responds with loud angry grunts and tears. I’m thankfully he can’t talk just yet. I’m not excited about the prospect of fighting with my toddler.

Weekends are better. He’s well rested and less grumpy. But, oh the opinions are still there. He refuses to hold hands when we are walking in crowded or fall-inducing places. He still wants to stand and walk on the couch. He still wants to throw things. He still wants to do only what he wants to do, and he’s not afraid to yell and scream when he doesn’t get his way.

We’re too young to be in the midst of the terrible twos (aren’t we?!), and the possibility that his attitude will get worse is absolutely terrifying. I need to somehow come to terms with the fact that my child is “spirited.”

Yep. “Spirited.” That’s code for “willful” or “stubborn” or “opinionated” or “challenging.”

“Spirited.” Just like his Aunt Sarah.

“Spirited.” Also known as “Momma is getting greyer by the minute,” or “Momma’s gonna need more whiskey.”

Sure, we still have sweet moments where I see glimpses of the little boy I once knew. Like last night when he woke up with a nightmare and we cuddled in his rocker for an hour until he settled back down. Or when he runs to me when I go pick him up from daycare. But, for right now, we’re locked in a battle of wills and learning our roles. I love that he’s curious and adventurous and investigates the world around him. I just wish he’d be more amenable about it all.

So, any suggestions on dealing with “spirited” kids? I’m open to anything. I’d like us both to survive this.

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