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Max Diaries: Mr. Big Stuff

Christina Cox

by Christina Cox, new mom blogger

I was at a parent meeting with a child educator from Max’s new school a week ago and all of us went around the room to talk about our child’s temperament. Most of the children are younger than Max, so the parents haven’t quite yet sorted out exactly where they fit on the scale yet. Not so with Max. He just turned two and this little man has a lot he’s dealing with. I described Max’s temperament as a high energy little person with big emotions. He is highly verbal and social and at the same time easily frustrated when things don’t go his way, so much so that he lashes out by stomping his feet or grabbing the dog too aggressively and sometimes pulling his own hair. He’s got great big feelings right now.
He likes a party, loves being around people and would even happily skip a nap if he is around others. He is an extrovert, energized by his environment and surroundings and is glad to meet everyone he can. He’s very easily adaptable in a social way. But, if we try to take him out of the social scene to go night-night at a friend’s house or if we are traveling and it’s time to settle down for a nap, it just won’t happen. He’ll simply stay up and that’s when he gets real cranky. In that way, he’s not so easily adaptable and tends to like his own crib. And, he’ll let you know too in a big way. Like many two year olds, he is just trying to work out what feelings are and how to manage them.
Yesterday was his 2nd birthday. We celebrated with balloons and presents and little miniature cupcakes with candles in them. We put him at the head of the dining room table in a big person chair with his balloons and sang happy birthday. He looked at all of us like he couldn’t believe we were singing for him and then he grinned as big as his face would let him. Then he opened presents. He couldn’t believe his good fortune when he found a car transporter and a recycle truck inside the wrapping. But the cool soccer jersey was received in complete silence and then was discarded with an arm fling that sent it flying across the kitchen. Then he ran around the room gathering together as many of the toys in his arms as he could and he screamed “I TWO.” That’s my Max right now, showing his big emotions and trying to exercise some independence.
And, while those big emotions get tiring, especially when he cries to get everything he wants, I have to remember that he’s learning. It’s hard to have patience and I admit that I sometimes get cranky (and even more cranky due to being pregnant with our second) listening to every whine, cry, stomp, hit, shriek, refusal and NOOOOOOOOOO. And, I get mad right back. But, it’s a necessary part of his journey and I need to help him navigate his way through this time. When he wants to react big, I tend to want to react big right back. But, instead, I need to let him know what’s ok and what’s not. For example, it’s ok to have feelings, but it’s not ok to pound the dog’s head with the broom.
Sometimes he gets really frustrated and he raises his hand like he’s going to hit me, then he stops and appears to be thinking. And, I’m thinking “Oh, NO sir” ready to catch his hand and reprimand him. Then, he wraps his arms around my big pregnant belly, kisses it and says while nodding “Mommy loves you Max,” just like I say to him. (Probably to make sure that I still love him even though he’s a high-flying tyrant right now.) And, I say “yes.” And, even though he hasn’t quite got the verbage right, that’s the big stuff I love.

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