Well, there is no doubt about it (As seen in picture above of featured family). Clairvaux officially believes she is smarter, stronger, louder, faster, and bigger than the rest of our family. She makes her tiny presence known each day. The problem is her siblings and a heavy dose of "baby of the family syndrome". She is doted on and toted around the house like a queen. Anyone treated in such accord would become a tyrant over time. Poor little Clairvaux.
The good news. Clairvaux hasn't gotten the memo that she isn't our first one-year-old. My mother always said people talk about the "terrible twos" referring to two-year-olds, but really it is their SECOND year of life (meaning one-year-olds) that we've both found to be more of a trip.
Now, if this would have been my first or second child, I would definitely been in therapy for months now. I would have KNOWN I was a bad parent. I would have sought advice from any mother I saw begging her for her secrets. When you are a fresh mother, you blame yourself WAY TOO OFTEN for your child's behavior. Not that people don't do some crazy things, BUT if you are trying to be a good and Godly mother, please know this phase is NORMAL and actually quite ridiculously on their part.
I call John often at work to tell him of her ridiculous and reckless behavior. For example, I took Terrorist #1 with me to Juice Stop to get my current pregnancy craving, Scissor Kick or maybe it was Side Kick, quite possibly the name was Toe Touch, but anyway. I gave Little Hitler a drink and she loved it. BFF her and I. Well, my new bestie wanted the whole drink and threw an Olympic size fit in the store. I smiled because it was that awesome. Then, on the way to the car she reared back to hit me with her little paw. I grabbed her hand and let her know that is not cool. Finally, she wouldn't sit down in her car seat. The best part is that the little 17 pound guppie forgets how tiny she really is. So, at this point I am dying of laughter and her little body being stiff and ACTUALLY THINKING it will work. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. NO WAY COTTON EYED JOE.
I also have a firm belief she entered some contest behind our backs for table standing. I get her off the table at least 198,000 times a day. She climbs up, stands in the middle, and says "Down!" "Down!" I think she must reach a certain quota each day. I'll have to check the rule book.
We dined at some friends home tonight and I actually turned to John at some point and said, "Am I sweating?" She must have paid closer attention to the monkeys at the zoo than I thought because she closely resembled the primates. She tried scaling their fireplace grate.
We laugh mainly at her crazy pirate teeth. One major fang with three small fangs coming in on the sides. Before last week, she was trying to win a mullet competition in which I quickly remedied. I do not have time for such activities with my children. Table standing. Mullet winning. Ridiculous. We cut the mullet off.
In all seriousness, if you are struggling with this age of child, please know how hard it is. Please know it is not really you who is the problem. They are tough. They are tough most days. I've read several discipline and child rearing books especially with my first few little ones.
I would highly recommend anything by Dr. James Dobson namely "The Strong-Willed Child" and "Dare to Discipline." His advice is right on, in my opinion. I also really like Dr. Ray Guarendi. He is hysterical. I read it mainly to laugh my head off, but his advice is sound.
When ever my mother meets somebody struggling with a small toddler and they ask her advice, she always says, "Have another baby!" We have found that to be really true. It won't be instant, but because your focus shifts to the new baby Terrorist #1 in your home actually loses their momentum and fizzles out. I have seen it with everyone of our children. I always say with Clairvaux, "Well, this will be taken care of when the new baby gets here." So many people struggling with difficult short people think that having another baby would only add fuel to the fire. This has not been our experience nor my mother's. I tend to listen to her advice. She did raise 10 toddlers in her lifetime and as she states, "My children didn't drive me crazy."
How do the days go with a firecracker? With the first few children, your life changes to suit them and their needs so if you have a firecracker on hand, usually each event is ruined or hard. With later children, the baby fits into YOUR life and schedule and you realize is it a phase that will pass and start enjoying life amidst the firework show. She does make daily life with homeschooling and other duties a challenge. Most days, I just plow through the day realizing this is what I am supposed to be doing. It is God's plan for me to be home, raising and teaching children, loving their father, and enduring these phases of their life. If it is bothering me and her fusser button won't turn off, she will have to sit in her bed for a moment. She usually learns her lesson after a couple of squats. It lets me think and her think (I think). She is learning though and I've noticed a glimmer of light shining through the tunnel. It could be her night light though.