Rebuilding Myself With a Toddler

I’m starting to wonder if relearning and rediscovering myself is going to be an annual thing now (or should I say a constant thing?) as a mom. As I was starting to get a better grasp of the new “me,” I’ve come to terms that Dominic’s second year of life is so incredibly different than the first – by leaps and bounds – that I’m feeling like I need to relearn and rediscover myself all over again. Where and how do I best fit in this puzzle of his life? His needs have completely changed.

It’s not even just his needs.  It’s just… him.  You know when they say “Kids say the darndest things” it always brings a smile to people’s faces because they start to think of these wonderful, honest, unfiltered and sometimes straight-up ridiculous things that they’ve heard kids say.

However, people rarely talk about their actions.

I think that’s why my post about Dominic’s hug resonated with people because as much as their words are completely honest, so are their actions.  Toddlers don’t understand social constructs – what’s normal and what’s not.  I love this age because I know at this point that he doesn’t hug or kiss when we ask him to, but he hugs and kisses when he feels like it’s right emotionally.  It’s random, and it’s honest.  It makes me wonder how many times us as adults want to show appreciation or affection to someone, but we don’t due to social norms.  He’s currently not bound by social norms.  And I love it.  I love it to the point where even when I ask him to kiss me and he says “no,” I respect it.  This kid is learning his emotions, and as a mother it somehow makes me feel like life has no limits because it’s now that he’s really constructing his sense of self using me and everyone around him to guide him.

I have to admit that this is my favorite age in comparison to year one.  As cute and cuddly as he was as an infant, I’m a little obsessed with this toddler time.  It’s exciting for me to watch him as he begins to really process and express his emotions (even if that means throwing a tantrum). It’s exciting because it’s so new for him… and me. To watch this little person learn to show affection when he feels it’s right or even how he recognizes simple things like ownership (ie “my” toys) is exciting.  Even when he starts learning how to manipulate us by fake crying is exciting.  Is that crazy?  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s EXHAUSTING, but once I get the chance to take a few steps back and think about it, it tells me something bigger.
He’s at the age where he’s starting to crave learning, experimenting, and getting creative.  Yes, there is a crayon mark on the wall now (thank you Magic Eraser) and some pen marks on the couch, but that’s being a kid (and why we can’t have nice things :).  He doesn’t know his limitations yet, and this is our time to teach him the little things.  He’s really becoming his own, and it’s our duty to really pay attention and help shape him into a good citizen of the world.  No pressure, right? Haha.  Granted, I kind of feel like at this age, his emotions may make a lot of “lessons” moot for a bit, but I guess it’s about building the foundation.


Before, it was a lot of “how do I make sure I keep him alive and healthy?”  Now, it’s that and a lot of “how do I stimulate his mind to keep learning and guide him to be a good human being?”  This is where the real parenting comes in it seems, and although I understand he’s still only 1, I’m realizing that that mindset for me is just going to keep refining itself year after year to really attempt to target his needs… and somehow I need to remind myself not to forget to refocus on me too.  There’s a constant shift in balance with this motherhood thing, and it’s just a little crazy to think about.  There’s no stability in life anymore.  It’s constant rebuilding.  A constant adjustment.  Every new thing he does is a constant reminder.  It’s a beautiful and crazy, crazy thing.

I guess I’m mostly babbling because today has been a little bit of a rough day, but, man, in short, this little guy has made life so much more interesting 🙂

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  • Reply Kayla Greenstone

    I loved when you said before it was about keeping him alive and healthy and now it's about learning and shaping him as a little boy – love reading your blog as this is a little glimpse into my future 🙂

    September 28, 2016 at 11:28 am
    • Reply Vy

      Yeah, your perspective of motherhood really does evolve (and evolve and evolve haha). I'm glad we can share each others journeys here! Whatever helps for us to not feel alone is a good thing. Reading your blog always brings me so many fond memories of Dom being tiny!

      September 30, 2016 at 4:22 am

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