Raising a strong-willed child is the hardest thing I've ever done. Daniel is super-smart, funny, loving and thrives in the company of others. However, as we've gotten into the four year old stage (4 1/2 now) he has discovered every one of my buttons and delights in pushing them to see what happens.
A friend of mine and I were discussing how it doesn't make sense why children KNOW what consequence their actions will result in yet they misbehave anyway. Well, I can honestly say that many of my actions don't make sense and it doesn't seem to deter me, either. Let's see: "I want to lose weight. I know that if I eat that piece of cake it won't help me lose weight. MMmm, mmmm, yummy. That cake sure was good. " So, I can't wonder why my child doesn't grasp consequence when his 35-year old mother isn't able to.
But, nonetheless, it's still frustrating. What's equally maddening at times is how smart he is. Always one step ahead of me, he seems to anticipate my actions and plans a strategy accordingly. OK, so maybe I'm giving him a little too much credit, but I will tell you that my son knows what he's doing. Maybe he intercepted the mail and got the Parenting Manual that was addressed to me. You know, the one that comes with all children telling you exactly how to raise them and how to react in all sorts of situations. What? You didn't get one, either? Hmmm... look under your child's bed. I'm sure that's where Daniel keeps our copy. And, late at night, he pulls out his trusty doggy flash light and reads chapter after chapter, formulating ways to drive me batty. (and yes, I know he pretends to not be able to read but I bet that's just part of the master plan, as well. )
Back to reality (don't dial Georgia Mental Services just yet)...I love him with all my heart and love the challenges motherhood tosses my way. But you know what makes it all worthwhile? What makes it possible to withstand some arguing, and tantrums and not-so-nice glances in my direction? It's times like last night, tucking him into bed when he asks me to lie down with him...and we talk in whispers about his day and about his dreams and how much he enjoyed snack time at day camp and what his favorite book is, and he gently turns over, tucks his arm through mine, weaves our fingers together and drifts off to sleep.
Motherhood. There are bad times and not-so-bad times. But the good times, like scenes from a favorite movie I like to watch over and over again, are what I'll always choose to remember.