Today our little destroyer grows one year wiser. I had always dreaded this day as if it were a real-life zombiepocalypse. For decades, I have heard about how dreadful terrible twos are: all the relentless fighting for autonomy, the tendency to hit parents and playmates, the horrible tantrums, the kicking and rolling on the floors everywhere, all that unruliness.
But as a parent, one learns that if there is one thing you should do – especially to a toddler – is to not expect.
I guess what’s frightening to me is expecting the worst in my kid. This once docile, tiny creature who used to only suckle-sleep-smile, is now growing her
little horns wings and defying all to prove she’s a separate entity. She’s not just Mama’s little girl now. She is aware of her own desires and preferences and won’t just sit there mum about it.
|1) At the now-defunct Lolo Dad’s Cafe. 13 months. 2 & 3) First meeting with Angkong. Morong, Bataan. 13 months 4) Makati, SIL’s bunk. 5) She likes cars! 6) Cavite, 16 months.|
More importantly, I have expected things will get easier.
When you have a newborn, people say it’ll get easier by the time a baby turns three months old, then six months, then a year, then four, then school age. By far, the easiest for me was when Lia was between 2 to 6 months but even then, it wasn’t all butterflies and ponies. I stopped hoping by the time she turned a year old.
‘Cause that’s the other thing you learn as a parent. It really never gets easier. If it was so damn easy, everyone would be doing it. We’d all stop drowning ourselves in chocolates or beer or any of those stress-downers when the wailing ends.
|1) Lourdes Grotto, Baguio. 17 months. 2) Casa Vallejo, Baguio. 3) Mines View Park 4) Annabels, QC. 17 months. 5) Garden wedding at San Jose del Monte. 18 months.|
In every phase there are hurdles and challenges, the only constant in parenthood. But for every sleep deprived night, every sore nipple, every angry palm or foot that smacks your face, every heartache, there’s also something good to make it up: the way your infant smiles at you while nursing; that morning she squishes your cheeks and plants a kiss on you when she wakes up; that time a playmate wronged her and she extends her arms and cries out “Mama!” (versus Daddy. LOL); that moment she gives you a hug even before she knows what a hug means; or that morning you wake up and realize you have raised this wonderful, tiny fluff of chaos and joy for two years whom you love and who loves you back, no matter how many times you and her have become frenemies. Those are the best rewards in the world.
|1 & 2) First kalesa ride. Fort Santiago Intramuros. 18 months. 3 & 4) Funny bunny. Clark Airforce City, Angeles. 19 months. 5) First nigh gimmick. Pre-Christmas at MOA. 20 months.|
When I think about her terrible twos, I instead try to think how far she’s gone, not how much further it’s going to take to get to the easier days. When you think of it, this terrible twos, it’s not at all terrible
wait till she gets to her teens. Most of the time, she’s defiant, but isn’t that the seeds of a girl who knows how to fight for what she wants in life? These are the days that serve as the jump-off to tomorrow. These are the days that matter, where every minute is an opportunity to raise a good kid. Where two shouldn’t be abhorred but welcomed with open arms, as much as one would the great possibilities it brings for our children.
Happy birthday, dear Lia. You will forever be Mama’s meanest and most lovable li’l monster in the world.