I thought that having a newborn and a toddler was going to be the hard part of parenthood. In my naivete, I thought, “if I can get through this, I can make it through anything, I will be super Mom”.
And then that newborn; that sweet, sleepy, cuddly newborn, became a toddler.
My son for the most part has skipped over the most terrible of the terrible twos. He’s only thrown full-blown tantrums enough times that I can count them on one hand, and even they weren’t that bad.
But my daughter, with her sweet innocent blue eyes, and angelic curls, is an instigator.
She’s going to be the one to get my well-disciplined son to steal the cookies off the top shelf.
So what do I do on those days when both of them want to see who can scream the loudest while they barricade themselves under the kitchen table, or when they find the mail pile I haven’t had a chance to go through yet and before I realise the reason they’ve been so good and “quiet” while I prepare lunch is because they have been doing this:
Well, first I usually get mad at them, and then at myself for being so stupid as to leave the mail within their reach.
But then, I usually try to channel the Blessed Mother and think . . . what did Toddler Jesus do?
Did he scream?
Did he sing Aramaic Nursery Rhymes for an hour in his room instead of taking a nap?
Did he insist that he absolutely must hold his cup while mommy pours the milk in it because that’s what daddy does every morning and heaven forbid there should ever be a tiny deviation from his normal routine?
Or was he the nudist type, and threw off his clothes at every opportunity and go streaking through the marketplace goading St. Joseph to catch him?
I know that some people feel it’s appalling to even consider that Jesus would ever exhibit anything but perfect behaviour . . . but in my experience, toddlers don’t act this way because they’re being bad, they’re just discovering the world around them and their limitations.
And honestly, there’s no way I could even attempt to desire to emulate the Blessed Mother if for a second I thought she didn’t have to put up with this kind of crazy.
Actually, to be fair, in these moments, I often give up on our Holy Mother and go straight to St. Joseph. I feel like he gets me more. Here he is, the only sinful person in the household. He was the only one who probably ever was inclined to lose his temper. Can you imagine what it must have been like for him?
That’s a tough break. At least I know when I get in a fight with my husband, even though I know it’s really all my fault, I can still appease myself with the knowledge that he was probably a little wrong too.
So, if I’m really lucky, I remember to mutter a quick “St. Joseph, please help me to be patient with my toddlers, just as you were patient with Toddler Jesus.” Which is hopefully enough to help me get my bearings before losing my cool on them while I face the next challenge which is trying to feed two toddlers lunch without a mess.
I then quickly add “And pretty please can they both have a good long nap together so I can have a break and watch last night’s episode of Glee?”