It’s a 34ish second video. BusyBee, is looking extra cute in a clean green tee shirt, grey leggins, matching socks and Spiderman high tops. The comments were not made because he looked unkempt or anything like that. He is laying and then kneeling on our kitchen floor, which happens to be covered in dry old fashioned rolled oats.
It starts with him laying in them, and as soon as he sees the light on the camera, he comes up and kneels down in front of me, still playing in the oats.
I ask, “What is that *BusyBee*? Is that oatmeal?”
He continues to play in it for a couple of second then looks up at me and smiles, “Yep!”
He starts picking it off of his clothes and eating it.
“Did you dump oats all over Mommy’s clean floor?” I chide him a bit, but no shaming, because that’s just not how we roll around here.
He doesn’t respond, then about 10 seconds later he babbles something to me. I laugh and say, “Yep, that’s our baby.”
That’s the whole thing.
The negative feed back about our parenting choices was astounding. I’m not one for public confrontation or arguing with people who don’t care what I have to say, so I finally wrote out my response to share with other people currently parenting small children… just to vent. What I say has merit, though, and I think this is an excellent place to share it, as well.
“In the last few days people have started referring to the “terrible twos” all the time, as well as unnecessary comments about the video. The annoying part? They often do it in the same conversation as telling me how sweet and cute and blah, blah blah “good” stuff he is. If I so much as mention that *I* am having a rough week they start talking about the “terrible twos” and how much worse 3 is, as if I can’t have a bad week that isn’t his fault, as if it should be his fault. (*GAG* I’m bipolar, I have bad weeks, I had more before my baby, honestly.) I get so mad that I can’t even calmly reply. I pretty much just end the conversation and walk away so I’m not super rude. But I’ve been stewing over the responses I would LOVE to be calm enough to give, if I thought it would do any good.
1.) HE’S NOT TWO. You know that he is 19 months, I know you do because you just asked and I told you. In case you can’t count (which I know you can) that’s pretty darn close to exactly 1.5, which developmentally a million miles from 2. (In case you forgot in the 10-30 years that it’s been since you had a toddler.
2.) TWO YEAR OLD CHILDREN ARE ABSOLUTELY NOT TERRIBLE. They are two. They are doing what they are SUPPOSED to do. Sure, they can be super challenging, but they are supposed to be figuring out the limits of what is acceptable behavior and asserting their independence and individuality. If you think they are terrible as a whole, there’s a good chance you have unrealistic expectations for them.
3.) If YOU LIKE MY KID SO MUCH, WHY CAN’T YOU ACCEPT THAT OUR PARENTING *MIGHT* HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT? So, I parent differently than you did? So what? My parenting choices are not meant as an insult to the way you parent(ed) your children. I probably don’t even think you were a crappy parent. That doesn’t meant that I have to do things your way to be a good parent. I research my choices and tailor them to my child’s specific personality and developmental stage.
4.) MY CHILD DOES NOT RUN MY HOUSE AND I DON’T THINK I NEED TO START FIGHTS WITH HIM TO SHOW HIM WHO IS BOSS. The fact that we chose to make our house a 95% yes space doesn’t mean that he’s in charge. Just because we only have a few real rules (I will not let him unplug and replug the the fan in for fun, it’s too dangerous) that we enforce does not mean that he isn’t being given any limits. This is his home, too. We choose to let his home be a happy and safe place for him to be the age he is and we will continue to do so. We are not going to draw a bunch of “lines in the sand” about stuff that isn’t dangerous or a problem, just so I can tell him “NO!” as many times a day as possible, we choose positive communication as often as possible.
5.) WHEN YOU ASKED IF I EVER “GET MAD AT HIM” AND THEN WENT ON TO TELL ME THAT I SHOULD SO THAT HE WILL LEARN WHAT HE SHOULDN’T DO, I WANTED TO PUNCH YOU… BE GLAD HE GIVES THE CHANCES TO PRACTICE DEEP BREATHING AND ACTING CALMLY AND KINDLY. I will never choose to yell at, smack, spank or otherwise act out of anger toward my child. Sure, I’ll slip sometimes, but I will never do it as a way to teach him. When I act harshly toward him I will apologize. In our home EVERYONE is afforded equal rights to be treated with respect, no matter their size, age or gender. Dr. Seuss had it right, “A person’s a person no matter how small.”
6.) THE OATMEAL INCIDENT WAS MY FAULT. He has had access to the kitchen for less than a week, he’s still learning what is and isn’t okay. Also, I left the bucket of oatmeal on the counter (within his reach AND it’s one of his favorite foods) and then forgot it was there, then I proceeded to let him play in there unsupervised. Has anyone EVER made it through the toddler years without a single spill?”
How do you handle people who just want to cut you down or tell you to parent in a way that is completely contrary to your beliefs? Especially if they are people who already like your kids, the way the way they are now?