As the "Terrible twos" hit around 22m, kutti boy morphed from a gentle (he still is in a lot of ways), no crying, calm baby to this demanding, I stand by my opinion no matter what, scream loudly and I will get what I want child! The switch was both fascinating and exasperating for me. On the one hand I felt like standing back and witnessing my child change from a cuddly sweet baby and take that step into being his own person and express his independence and strong opinions. On the other hand, I just longed for that little child who would never yell or cry, who would/could only at best reject what I give him but not demand in absolute terms exactly what he wanted and wanted NOW!
The new little person in him brought out the impatient side of me. Especially during meal times. I found myself yelling and even getting physical with him - holding both his hands tight so he cannot push the spoon back and shove the spoonful of food into his mouth as he arches his back and faces up while sitting in the high chair.
"You have to eat your mum mum"
"Come on Kanna please don't fight me Kanna, please eat Kanna"
We look at each other in silence for a few moments.
"Let's read the Big book (as he calls Clifford's school house book) and we can eat then".
He sits calmly while I open the book and ask him "hey, where's the Unicorn?"
He points to the U flap and opens it.
I smartly try to now bring the spoon close to his mouth and he is no little fool - he darts away from the spoon and in a cool tone says "No!"
I look at him sternly.
"Please don't fight me Kanna...you have to eat now".
That's it. Flare up.
"Are you going to eat now or do you want me to give you a whack now?!".
The yelling match has begun.
I lose it. I hold his hands and now really thrust the spoonful of food in.
It's a lost cause. I ask him what he wants.
"Ok, we will have yogurt once you eat your mum mum"
I am ready to cry myself. I look at my mom who is just as annoyed and says "Rendu odhe kudu dee" (give him two!). (if I actually did that she would come and whack me).
Depending on his mood he will suddenly relent - having tasted the first spoonful of food and realizing that he is in fact hungry - will continue to eat and finish the meal without further battling me. But on some days I have to relent and give him yogurt and oatmeal and get it over with.
Last night was one of those battle nights. But it left me feeling miserable. I titled this post "It happens -1" because such incidents keep happening and will continue to happen. The ones that leave you feeling guilty and wrench your heart at night when your child is fast asleep and takes a deep breath and snuggles close to you as you run your finger through his hair.
Kutti boy has taken a fancy to drinking water directly from the Gatorade (which he loves to drink) bottle from which I often drink cold water. Yesterday he kept asking me for more and more water and I didn't keep track of exactly how many times he had me or my mother give him small amounts in that bottle. We have had guests staying with us for a week and the house had been a mad house with three little boys running around trying to expend all their energy. In the middle of this, I lost track of how much water kutti boy was drinking. I gave him his 8oz of milk in the evening and as always at dinner time I started feeding him. It was late and I didn't have the energy or the time to battle him just in case and I decided to give him the easy yogurt meal. He took a few spoonfuls of it and suddenly it turned to battle time again. I lost it. Amidst the noise in the house I just did not have the patience to plead with him. I always manage to give him his meal - something - if not dal rice, at least something that he likes. But his refusal to eat anything made me anxious. Partly also because my husband had told me he would come way past midnight from work because of a deadline. I was worried if Kutti boy went to bed hungry he may wake up and cry and that might wake up the guests as well as baby girl. In my anxiety I fought him real hard. Shoved the food down his throat. He spat it right back. He cried - not in retaliation but more in a manner of someone trapped and feeling helpless. I could not bear it and finally gave up. It is when he also didn't fully drink his night time milk which he normally finishes that I realized that he felt bloated from all that fluid intake. I imagined myself being forced to eat food when my stomach was loaded with a ton of water. I felt so sorry for my little baby who I had fought so hard trying to feed him when he absolutely did not want it. I had let the chaos in the house cloud my understanding of why he was refusing food. Later that night when he went to bed I spent all the time (until my husband got back from work) sleeping right next to his toddler bed (I usually sleep on the side of the crib where baby gir l sleeps) and said a thousand apologies to him even though he had no clue about it.
This morning he woke up and had his morning milk and as always put his little fingers on my cheek and said "Konchi" (meaning petting fondly). My independent little two year old is still a baby after all. No apologies needed Mamma!