Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Spirited Child

My daughter, Baileigh, is the joy of my life. She is so full of life and energy. Sometimes, however, too much energy. From the moment she was born and Patrick exclaimed, "She has red hair!" I knew I was in for trouble. Trouble she is!

The day she was born the nurse came up to us and said "Boy, that little girl was not too happy about her shots! You are going to have your hands full with her! She has quite the temper!" 

Baileigh, ANGRY at one of her first baths.

Of course I was thinking:
1) What baby enjoys getting shots? Of course she's not happy!
2) Can a nurse REALLY tell the temperament of my newborn?

Well, she was right! Baileigh is very strong-willed and sticks to her guns. I have no idea where she got those characteristics She's just like me. That is why I think we butt heads so much. She wants me to carry her down the stairs, I know she can walk so I refuse. She's angry and I get annoyed. Sometimes I need to just give in, and do something little, like carry her down the stairs, if I know it will prevent the infamous toddler meltdown.

This past weekend truly was a test in parenting for Patrick and I. Saturday afternoon was great. We attended the first birthday party of our friend's daughter. Baileigh just loved her. Spent a lot of the party helping her walk and playing with her. Saturday evening, however, was not as delightful. Let's just say the breaking point was when was found Baileigh eating sugar out of the sugar bowl BY THE HANDFUL! She freaked out when we put her in timeout and refused to eat dinner that night complaining that "her belly hurt" (from the sugar I assume!) and that all she wanted to eat was a cupcake. Bedtime is always a disaster right now. She stalls and stalls and stalls. You name it. She has made an excuse about it. The author of Go the F* to Sleep OBVIOUSLY had a toddler JUST LIKE MINE.  She wears us out and I'm only 27 and Pat is only 29 but I swear she sucks the energy out of us!

Sunday was another rough day. Is rained almost all day, so we couldn't go outside and play. I decide to clean but as usual our curious little one was making messes just after we cleaned other messes up. She refuses to nap during the weekends at home, so we can't even get a moment to down several glasses of wine breath. By Sunday night I was exhausted. I posted this status on facebook: 

I had 13 friends/family comment that yes, 3's and 4's are tough years but we will get through it. I couldn't help but wonder, Will we get through it? I know, I know, I'm being a bit melodramatic, but still! I decided to look online for some advice, maybe a book that has some insight into my strong-willed daughter. I'm not usually the "self help book" kinda gal, but I can't be the only person who's toddler is this stubborn.

Cue the "Evil eye"...

Thanks to Amazon I found a book, Raising Your Spirited Child byMary Sheeda Kurchinka. I liked it initially because of the phrase "spirited", which isn't as negative as other books mentioning "difficult" children. Baileigh is very much spirited. Like I said, she's SO full of life and so happy (when she's NOT having a temper tantrum at Hobby Lobby and I'm having to carry her football style out of the store!) I read the preface of the book online and realized it is very much my daughter. The book has 4 1/2 stars online w/ 72 reviews. Here is some basic info:

The spirited child—often called "difficult" or "strong-willed"—possesses traits we value in adults yet find challenging in children. Research shows that spirited kids are wired to be "more"—by temperament, they are more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and uncomfortable with change than the average child. In this revised edition of the award-winning classic, voted one of the top twenty books for parents, Kurcinka provides vivid examples and a refreshingly positive viewpoint. Raising Your Spirited Child will help you:
  • understand your child's­—and your own—temperamental traits
  • discover the power of positive—rather than negative—labels
  • cope with the tantrums and power struggles when they do occur
  • plan for success with a simple four-step program
  • develop strategies for handling mealtimes, sibling rivalry, bedtimes, holidays, and school, among other situations

I downloaded the kindle book and have been reading it on our ipad. Which, by the way, is so easy and convenient! I downloaded it, and a minute later I was reading Part one! I have only made it through Part one, but I do think the author is brilliant. She raised two "spirited" children and understands them to a T. I feel like already I am beginning to understand my daughter better and why she is the way she is. She is such a loving, nurturing, smart sweet little girl and I'm glad to have found this book to help me learn to appreciate her just as she is. Maybe there is hope that she will get a sibling someday! haha!

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