I still have vivid memories of my great-aunt seeding and peeling off the skin of grapes for me to eat. I enjoy thinking about the times my mom dropped me off at another great-aunt’s home and how we would walk to a store and she would buy me my favorite chocolates from the candy counter. I remember my paternal grandmother teaching me to make home made flour tortillas and the love and care she put into making dozens of freshly made tortillas every morning for her family to have for breakfast. My maternal grandmother has always been willing to remove whatever accessory she’s wearing and immediately gift it to you if you just mention that it’s pretty.
I grew up surrounded by women who generously gave all of themselves to their children and grandchildren and I pray I can be at least a little bit like them.
World Mom Ana’s son
I thought I had been lucky enough to avoid them, I thought we would breeze through, I thought it didn’t run in the family, after all, my older son never had a tantrum. Oh boy, was I wrong. In the past few weeks my 2 year old, Joshua, has revealed a side of him I had never experienced before. The terrible two year old has unleashed and this inexperienced mama is in trouble! Don’t get me wrong, Joshua is still the sweet little guy he’s always been but when something doesn’t go his way, he is prompt to express his discontent. The repertoire includes high-pitched screams, kicks, a few encounters with the floor and a bite here and there.
I keep saying to myself that this attitude is product of our current transition. We recently left Indonesia and are slowly making our way back to Virginia where we will settle down for a while. Everything that Josh knows, his home, his friends, his school, his nanny are no longer here and I sometimes feel guilty for making them go thru this. We are having a wonderful time visiting friends and family however as familiar as grandparents and close friends are, I think Josh is still getting acquainted to his surroundings and feeling a bit disoriented.
I get it, if I was a two-year old with a repertoire of but a few words to express myself I would probably rely on physical manifestations to show my feelings. The part I don’t quite get is how to deal with it sometimes. Since I didn’t get any expertise with my now four year old, Evan, I am a bit clueless as to what to do every time he freaks out sometimes.
I’ve done my research and I’ve found all kids of tips and strategies, ignore the tantrum, distract him, engage him in conversation, hug him, give him a time out, etc. But what I’ve found works best is just to look at him in the eyes with the biggest smile and ask him to use his words and express what is bothering him. The result is a mix of English, Spanish and Bahasa Indonesia that somehow ends up overpowering the cries and anguish this little two year old feels and I get my Joshie back.
To be completely honest, I don’t particularly like this stage; it is frustrating and exhausting and sometimes outright exasperating. But then when I see my energetic two year old run around and make the best of his day, I realize how blessed I am to have such an amazing little man in my life and I choose to make the best of my day and savor every single second of this season in Joshua’s life.
For this family, the world terrible will be banned and even those “terrible” moments will be terrific learning experiences for both him and me. Here’s to savoring the last few moths of Joshua’s terrific twos and to being grateful every day for God’s endless blessings.
Did your kids go thru the “terrible twos”? How did they manifest it? Did all your kids go through them?
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Ana Gaby. You can find Ana Gaby blogging at Stumble Abroad.
Photo credit to the author.
Not too long ago, my four-year-old started understanding the concept of fairness vs. unfairness. To him, life is unfair, oh so many times ,during the day. To me, the fact that he can express his frustration over a denied chocolate treat before dinner or being sent back to sleep in his room when he tries to sneak into mom and dad’s bed, is just another sign of my toddler becoming a big boy.
Evan has not only learned to voice his frustration but has become a strong little boy with convictions. He will call my husband and I out on our mistakes and let us know how he believes what we are doing is not fair and shouldn’t be done. Sometimes I just chuckle, but sometimes my heart just skips a beat. For Evan, unfairness is represented by tangible things he cannot have or those few extra minutes in front of the TV that he wasn’t allowed. I feel so blessed that, so far, this is all the unfairness he has had to face. (more…)
As I type these words, my almost four-year-old is entertaining himself playing with one of his many toy airplanes. In his mind, our bedroom is an airport and the sky is the limit. In the room next door my baby sleeps. I call him my baby but in fact he just turned two years old last week and baby is the last word I should use to describe him. My second child is now a full-fletched toddler and his chubby cheeks and legs keep slimming and he keeps transforming into a little boy. I don’t have a baby anymore.
We always said we wanted three kids, even when we were dating and testing the waters talking about our potential future families. When Evan, our oldest, turned one, we knew right away we wanted another baby soon so we got pregnant soon after. When Josh turned one, we knew we weren’t ready and now that he has just turned two we know it’s time to think about this again, but we just don’t feel ready.
We still want three kids, but it never seems to be the right time. If I could just fast-forward the 9 months of pregnancy and have a little one right here right now, I would do it. But just the thought of going through a pregnancy with two little guys to chase makes me hesitant. (more…)
Dear Ana Gaby,
Let me cut to the chase, you are in the verge of turning 30 years old, you live in South East Asia, you are married (yes, you who said that you wouldn’t even date until you were 30), you are a mother of two. Thirty, it is not as bad as it sounds, trust me. You might be wondering what ever happened to your ambitions of becoming a human rights lawyer and working at an international organization. As you may have noticed by now things did not turn out the way you expected. Your plans to travel the world, finish at least one Masters degree and not even consider getting married until you had moved into your own place did not get fulfilled.
Don’t worry. You get to study abroad, to live on your own and work in those places you always dreamed of working at. You don’t spend as much time working there as you had hoped for but you get a taste of the international organization realm and realize that you picked the right major. You meet people from all over the world and form friendships that last despite time and distance.
Along the way you meet a man who changes your life completely. Your priorities, perspective and your dreams shift from solo mode to “I wouldn’t do this without my partner in crime” mode and you find that it’s ok to let yourself literally fall in love. (more…)
Lately I’ve read so many articles regarding the so-called “mommy-wars”. They are all over the news, on magazine articles on blogs and even on TV. Every time I read a new article I’m surprised to find that alongside fulfilling the always challenging role of being a mom the expectations and pressures we put on ourselves to be perfect in everything we do are not only unattainable but exhausting.
When I think of these things, I’m just so glad to be in someway sheltered from it. I live in a completely different world. I live in South East Asia, and I’m not a local, so the expectations put upon me are quite bearable and, in fact, easy to fulfill.
From the day I became a mother and gave birth to my first son in Thailand (where the nurses pampered me with massages and asked me if I would prefer the Thai, Japanese or Western menu!) to the day I came to Jakarta with a big pregnant belly and was rushed thru the express lane in the airport, being a foreign mom in South East Asia has been a fun and eye-opening experience from day one. (more…)