I’ve come to the shocking realisation that my little Mia is exactly like me in so many ways. I suddenly have a very deep level of understanding and compassion for my own parents and have been wondering this week how they ever managed to cope with me when I was 14 months old.
I have the privilege to work from home, which sounds really amazing when you say it, but when it’s time to get the work done I only manage to productively work for about 2-3 hours per day and that is the amount of time Mia usually takes a nap. When she opens her eyes, I have to be on full-time Mia duty. My work day is done and then my second job begins … keeping Mia out of trouble. Mia leaves a trail of destruction wherever she goes: half-unpacked cupboards, CD cases on the floor with missing CDs, water from the dog bowl splashed all over the floor and tiny, wet footprints leading to more destruction. I have found my toothbrush in the garden, parts of the garden in Mia’s room and I’m still on the lookout for the bum cream that went missing 2 weeks ago. Keeping up with a 14-month-old is a job in its own right.
I’ve also discovered that Mia can experience emotion on the full spectrum that human emotion can possibly function on. With that said, she is very capable of experiencing all of these emotions at once; one second I have to listen to heart-breaking sobs and the next minute she’s penguin-walking down the corridor, squealing with joy. Sometimes, I think that her tears of sadness and joy become so enmeshed on her little cheeks that I have to keep my wits about me to try and understand and keep track of which is which. Bottom-line: Mia is intense, but so was I.
Seeing myself in the way my child moves, speaks or acts is a treasure indeed. I love going back in time to memories that were precious to me while I see my children enjoy the same things I used to keep dear to my heart.
At this age, our children love to experience with their newfound freedom of will. They’ve discovered that they have a say and that they can make their needs known. The louder and more extravagant, the better the chances that they will get what they want. Boundaries are very important during this stage of development. Remember that setting boundaries is an act of love and it establishes a sense of security and safety in your child. Your 14-month-old can be a danger to themselves in the way they discover and explore, because their courage far outweighs their abilities. Exploring on their own is good, but they need guidance from mom and dad to know what is good and safe or what is unacceptable and dangerous.
Being on full-time Mia duty is draining to say the least and if I’m not a whole, healthy, rested and emotionally stable version of me, I can never be a good mother. When my emotional tank is running on empty, I have limited resources to provide in the emotional needs of my family. It becomes very difficult to find the humour in the destructive trail of an inquisitive toddler, when we are tired, busy and exhausted. Be kind to yourself. Rest. Take time away from the kids to reload. The only way our homes can be a place of joy and laughter, is if we live that joy ourselves.
MommaMia Tip: Setting boundaries for your toddler can be a difficult task. His will to explore is far greater than his will to listen to your warnings or attempts to discipline him. The keys to success in setting boundaries are consistency and repetition. When your toddler pushes the boundaries, he is closely observing your reaction. If you remain consistent in what is acceptable behaviour and what is not, your toddler will eventually comply. If you buckle under pressure, he will surely push the boundary even further next time. It helps to give your toddler an alternative, for example, if he throws a toy in the house, say, “Toys are not for throwing, but balls are for throwing. Let’s go outside and throw the ball.”