Hi mommy. It’s me, your toddler.
I want you to know something that might not be so clear all the time: I am doing the best I can. Sometimes it seems like you wish I had a whole lot more figured out by now — like how to control my body and emotions all the time. Or how to manage my time, fix my mistakes, or keep myself busy on my own.
But, I haven’t been around very long, and this whole life thing is still taking some getting used to.
I’m not trying to give you a hard time.
I’m never trying to make things difficult.
And I certainly don’t try to make you mad.
I’m learning and I’m trying to be “better” every day.
But can you hear me out for a minute, mom?
Sometimes when you’re frustrated with me you say things like, “What’s wrong with you?” and I’m not sure if you’re really waiting for an answer. I don’t think so, so I just wonder what, in fact, is wrong with me. I like it when you tell me what to do instead and help me to do it when I need it.
Sometimes you tell me to stop crying or that I’m “fine” when I’m upset. But, I don’t feel fine. It makes me think you’re not comfortable with my big feelings, so I’m learning maybe it’s better if I just keep them inside. I love when you just sit with me and let me know it’s okay to cry sometimes.
Sometimes you say things like, “That’s not nice” and I think you’re telling me I’m not nice. It makes me feel bad about myself and also doesn’t actually help me to figure out how to “be nice” again. I wonder if sometimes you could believe that there’s a reason I’m misbehaving — even when you can’t understand it — and then give me ideas for better choices to make.
Sometimes you make me say I’m sorry for something immediately — before I’ve even had the chance to do so on my own. I usually know when I’ve done something wrong; I get that same icky feeling inside that you get. I feel better when I get the chance to process that feeling so I can make a genuine apology on my own. And I’m learning how to do that by watching you do so when you’ve messed up.
And mom, sometimes I wonder if you say and do things just because you’re afraid of being judged by other adults who are around — rather than trusting your own intuition and ability to make the best decisions for your family; I trust you mom — you’re mine for a reason.
Toddlerhood is exciting and challenging, isn’t it, mom?
This phase is new for us, but I know we’re meant to learn and grow with one another — side by side.
Thank you for doing the best you can, mom.
I promise I’m doing the best I can, too.
And I promise to love you through it all.
No matter what.
This story originally appeared on A Place Within Me