Terrible Twos + Habit 7 {Sharpen the Saw}

I’ve got about 5 things jumbling around my mind tonight that need to get done, while Mumford & Sons (“I will wait, I will wait for you!“) is stuck in my head.  This blog, the last load of laundry from the weekend, some “home”work (work I didn’t finish and have to bring home–luckily this doesn’t happen too often), a friend who asked my advice that I need to respond back to, a new program to get into (Beach Body coaching–I signed up!).  I also have another big project that I’ve been dying to start, but haven’t made the time to do it yet.  *Whew* how’s that for a to-do list?  Normally, I’d do the most pressing/drudgery-filled one first, in this case the laundry and the homework.  The blog would get left to last, and by the time I got to it, it just wouldn’t be high-quality.  I’d be wanting to check it off the list, like many/most of the other tasks.

So tonight, I’m putting first things first–see, the habits do come in handy because they show you how to prioritize your life.  You automatically know what’s important, and everything else falls in line.  In this case, I cherish this blog because it’s the only thing (besides pictures–which do speak 1,000 words, but I want to make sure the right words get captured) that keeps record of what’s going on with me every week.  I don’t make time for a journal, though I wish I would and probably should.  This is at least a close second, in my opinion.  And if no one reads it besides me and my girl KW, that’s OK too 😉

Tonight I wanted to share what the dreaded Terrible Two’s are all about.  Ok, to be honest, I didn’t realize how moody little people can be.  I also didn’t realize that children are very, very different from each other.  Some people might look at Gabe and be say Wow, he is really difficult/high maintenance/reactive/impulsive/etc.  Others could see an energy-filled boy with a mischievous sense of humor, sweet, fun, and a boy who minds his parents and adults most of the time.  As far as Gabriel goes, both people would be right.  Having a two-year-old is like having a mini Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  Any event, big or small, is a potential landmine, a possible explosion of little feelings that get unleashed in the form of screaming, crying, hitting, pinching, garbled yelling impossible to understand, or if you’re really lucky, all of the above.  Here’s some places that this tantrum could occur: (and keep in mind I’m a working mom, so I only spend 45 min in the morning with Gabe, and 2-3 hours in the evening with him–and yes, most days I feel very guilty about those numbers)

  • Undressing time.  Pajamas off, diaper change, clothes on.  Sounds simple, right?  Au contraire.  (side note, the other day Gabe said, while naked, I need clothes.  I got him a shirt and he said, I need pants.  Never said either of those before!)
  • Turning off lights.  Lately, Gabe wants to do everything we do.  Including turning on/off lights, the fireplace (it’s gas & switches on), and the garage door button.  If you don’t let him do it, watch out!
  • Meals.  There’s numerous areas for detonation in this topic.  Lately it’s been bad.  I even had to institute table rules.  I broke it down Barney-style for him: 1) Sit in your seat.  2) Eat your food.  It seems to be working ok.  Gabe would want to sit on my lap and eat my food (all you fellow parents know how annoying it is to constantly share–altho it probably helps my waistline).  He’d get down from the table and go play with toys, come back and want more of my food, start screaming about who knows what…. yeah, meal times are rough.  Not to mention, now he wants “dippin’ sauce” with everything, since we had it for chicken nuggets on his birthday.  So I have to give him ketchup with his eggs at breakfast.  For dinner, he mainly eats Ramen Noodles.  On one hand, I’m ashamed to say that.  On the other, I’m just glad he’s getting some calories.  A year ago, he wasn’t picky at all.  Now, his list of edible foods is getting slim.  Hopefully this changes soon.  But an example of how exasperating meals can be: this morning, like all the others, I cooked him an egg.  He ate zero bites of egg, but ate his ketchup.  With his fingers.  *shaking my head with a look of dismay on my face!* LOL.  This too shall pass, right?
  • Phone calls.  Gabe is obsessed with our iPhones, but he already broke Javi’s screen once, so we don’t give him the phone often.  I let him “push the button” after calls.  Most of the time he’ll give the phone back, but heaven forbid you ask for it when he wants to hold it, like today.  I had to pry it from his little fingers, and 5 minutes of screaming/wailing ensued.  Also, we call “Mi-ma” (grandma) in the mornings on the way to school/work.  Lately Gabe gets upset if Papa isn’t there to talk too.  Several more minutes of crying after that.  Thank God I had his blanket with me, so that comforted him.
  • Getting in/out of the car.  I never, ever knew how exhausting this could be until I became a parent.  Babies can be heavy after so many lifts.  Toddlers = even heavier!  I once joked to a friend that I didn’t need to lift weights anymore, I just lift Gabe.  Only half joking there.  Seriously, if Gabe decides he doesn’t want strapped in the car seat, he’ll buck like a baby bronco, arching his back, screaming, and generally making it the equivalent exertion to jumping rope for 5 or 10 minutes.
  • Walking into daycare.  Sometimes Gabe gets it in his head that he wants to lay down and scream in the parking lot.  These days are really “fun” for me.  I get to carry a kicking, screaming 30-pound boy into school, in my work clothes.  Awesome, but could be worse.
  • {Quick Break: I just realized there are 6–possibly more–areas of potential tantrums all before I get to work!  No wonder it’s a relief to pull in the parking lot every day and go sit at my desk.  In peace.}
  • Leaving daycare.  This one is an almost-daily struggle.  In the mornings, he doesn’t want me to go, and utters the most pitiful, guilt-inducing “Maaaah-meeee” he can muster.  In the afternoon, he doesn’t want to leave with me.  Most days, he doesn’t even come run and give me hugs anymore.  Today, for example, he was sitting by himself, whining.  He looked up at me and continued to whine.  One shoe off, of course.  The usual.  He had pink sunglasses that he was really taken with.  Didn’t want his coat on.  I waited.  Found his shoe, got it on.  Finally got the coat on.  He wanted to take the sunglasses.  I explained they weren’t ours.  I got impatient and pried the stupid sunglasses from his little vise-grips, and had to carry him out, you guessed it–K&S (kicking and screaming).  A new family was visiting the daycare for the first time, and happened to walk in while all this was going down.  *Meh* This is only semi-embarrassing compared to what I will share in a moment.
  • More of the same stuff as above, when we get home.  Meals, spilt beverages (like an entire cup of milk tonight), wanting to open the door himself–with the key, wanting out of the car while I pumped gas, etc.
  • Bath/Shower time.  Here’s the “wonderful” new development in our household–Mommy is tired at night, so it dawned on me: I could get clean while Gabe gets clean.  Hence, we shower together.  Less bending my back, less waiting on the water, we both get clean, and we’re both happy.  Right?  Nope, wrong again.  Gabe likes to be inquisitive, which means asking “What’s that?” as he pokes me where he doesn’t know he shouldn’t poke me yet.  This might horrify him if he reads it one day as a teenager or even make him chuckle as an adult, but I share to show that nothing is sacred in parenthood.  No going to the bathroom by yourself, and no control over children’s curiosity.  So, I had to finish showering with a hand over my you-know, like a football player who’s been kicked one too many times and flinches to protect himself.  Yep, not too many more showers with Gabe are going to happen.
  • Bedtime.  Gabe has been pushing the envelope every night, demanding more and more books read.  I’m doing my best to hold the line, and set limits.  I dread the day when he has a big boy bed AND can open the door knobs.  At least now, he’s contained to the crib.  At least he goes to bed without too much of a fuss–lately there’s been some whiny-ness, but if I reassure him a second time, he’ll go to sleep.  Thank.  You.  God.
  • As a footnote here, I didn’t say all this to complain.  Altho some of it is legit complaints, haha.  Even with all the tantrums and lashing out of feelings, all the whining and crying, I would do it all again (and will, with my 2nd child, God-willing), because it’s all worth it.  Every last second.  I consider Gabriel to be my greatest accomplishment.  And for all the bad moments, there are sweet moments like Gabe asking “What’s wrong Mommy?” (his newest line of questions), or giving me wet kisses, or stroking my arm.  He gives the best hugs, especially in the morning.  I love the little guy with all my heart, and will try to be full of patience and understanding as he goes thru this rough spot.

And now, if that didn’t put you to sleep!, the last of my long-drawn-out-saga of the 7 Habits.  This one is pretty good, and one that I think a ton of people miss.  I see it all the time–people that are so focused on one aspect of life, usually their career, they ignore most everything else, including these 4 areas of renewal.  Here’s what Dr. Covey says:

Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual. Here are some examples of activities:

Physical: Beneficial eating, exercising, and resting
Social/Emotional: Making social and meaningful connections with others
Mental: Learning, reading, writing, and teaching
Spiritual: Spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through meditation, music, art, prayer, or service

As you renew yourself in each of the four areas, you create growth and change in your life. Sharpen the Saw keeps you fresh so you can continue to practice the other six habits. You increase your capacity to produce and handle the challenges around you. Without this renewal, the body becomes weak, the mind mechanical, the emotions raw, the spirit insensitive, and the person selfish. Not a pretty picture, is it?

Feeling good doesn’t just happen. Living a life in balance means taking the necessary time to renew yourself. It’s all up to you. You can renew yourself through relaxation. Or you can totally burn yourself out by overdoing everything. You can pamper yourself mentally and spiritually. Or you can go through life oblivious to your well-being. You can experience vibrant energy. Or you can procrastinate and miss out on the benefits of good health and exercise. You can revitalize yourself and face a new day in peace and harmony. Or you can wake up in the morning full of apathy because your get-up-and-go has got-up-and-gone. Just remember that every day provides a new opportunity for renewal–a new opportunity to recharge yourself instead of hitting the wall. All it takes is the desire, knowledge, and skill.

What it doesn’t say here is what Covey said on the audio CD, which sums up habit 7 perfectly: “Have you ever been so busy driving you forgot to stop for gas?” or said another way, “Have you ever been so busy sawing a tree down, for hours and hours, that you don’t stop for a moment to sharpen your saw?”  I experienced this firsthand on Saturday.  I was short-tempered, emotions were raw, and I just needed some “me time” away from everyone.  Finally, Gabe took a nap, I watched TV and took a nap, and felt like a new person.  Sharpening the saw can be a really fun, relaxing, awakening habit.

Here’s a few new ones of Gabe–have an awesome week!!!

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This entry was posted in 7 Habits, daycare, photography, Power of thanks, recipes, Terrible 2's, Things they say, working mom. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Terrible Twos + Habit 7 {Sharpen the Saw}

  1. Pingback: Beach Body {No more cupcakes!} | Runnin' Mom

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