In just over a month Manning will turn three. I can hardly believe it. I know you hear parents say this all the time, but I'm in a weird place where I feel like he was born just a few days ago, but I can't remember life without him.
Ever since I found out I was expecting Manning people started talking about the "terrible twos" and I wasn't really looking forward to this age. I can say with ALL sincerity that this year with Manning has been anything but terrible. To be honest, I love the two year old phase.
Manning started the year talking and his vocabulary has expanded what seems like every single day. He can carry on entire conversations on a fairly adult level.
The reason I think people talk about the "terrible twos" is because of two things- fit throwing and stubbornness. While I don't particularly enjoy either of these things, I think they serve a greater purpose, and I'm a little bit proud of myself for keeping perspective on this. I believe God designed children in such a unique way, and it's for His greater purpose.
It is easy to get frustrated when Manning is crying and throwing a fit because he wants to do something himself. For example, this morning I opened his bedroom door. He immediately threw himself on the floor crying because he wanted to do it himself. I shut the door and let him do it himself. He was so proud of his ability to open a door knob.
I can honestly say I'm glad I have a stubborn child. While it makes parenting challenging sometimes, that same stubbornness that is exhibited in my two-year-old throwing a fit is what I'm looking forward to when he's with a group of guy friends in high school that are doing something stupid or dangerous and Manning chooses to walk away. How do I know this is what will happen? Because he's a lot like his mom and dad. Nathan and I both are very stubborn and sometimes we've been criticized for this stubbornness, but I believe deep in my heart that my own stubbornness saved me from self-destruction in high school. It carried us through living continents apart for 18 months of dating, through a wedding when everyone said we were too young, through a few hard years of marriage when we had no money and no free time, and now it carries us through this crazy, blessed adventure of parenting.
As far as throwing fits, I know that Manning is just learning to communicate. Yes, we talk about more proper ways to communicate, but I know that Manning's passion about his opinions will help him be a compassionate, kind, loving adult. Also, often times when Manning is throwing a fit it's because he doesn't know how to tell me that he's tired or hungry. I remember when newborn Manning would cry it was for one of three reasons: hungry, dirty diaper or tired. It's the same for toddlers. They have an awesome way of letting us know when we're expecting too much of them. Teaching children how to appropriately communicate as toddlers is so important. I've been around some adults who still act like toddlers, and it's much less adorable on a grown-up.
You can see why I've really grown to hate the phrase "terrible twos". As a parent, I remember daily that I begged and pleaded with the Lord to bless us with a child, and he saw fit to bless us with two in such a short time. I ASKED FOR THIS. And I am so, so grateful that I did.
"For this child I have prayed and the Lord has granted the desires of my heart." 1 Samuel 1:27