I'm not one of those moms that intuitively knows what to pack for a 3-hour outting, or what quiet games to play during church. One Sunday, I kept feeding Juliet cheese sticks because it seemed to make her happy. The problem came after she shoved the second stick into her mouth, tried to swallow it whole, and threw up all over me. I whisked her out of the chapel, and left Scottie to clean up the mess. Obviously, I have no idea what I'm doing.
I listen to other moms, and sometimes wonder, "What class did I miss out on in school?" While I was studying Modern Literature and the Great War, my friends were majoring in Family Studies. It turns out the joke is on me, because I'm scrambling to find answers now. As luck would have it, my sister recently visited and watched me deal with one of my daughter's tantrums.
"Have you ever heard of the book How to Raise a Spirited Child?" She asked in a kind voice, obviously seeing my lack of skill.
No response from me. I was trying to stop little legs from kicking me in the face.
"You might want to try it." She commented.
And I did.
I've been reading this book for the past few weeks, and it's helping me know that I am lost. But it's also helped me realize that other parents are lost, too. And we're lost because raising a spirited child is raising a kid that is simply more: more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and energetic. I am at least starting to find some answers, and I am applying little bits of what I am learning each day. The days I read the book, I'm patient with Noel. The days I don't read the book, she screams "WHY?" as I roll her off Juliet. Her own version of steamroller.
I'll keep reading Raising Your Spirited Child because it's the first time in Noel's short 2 1/2 year life that I'm understanding how to deal with tantrums, sleeptime, and every time in between. And I'm trying other tactics for control besides cheese sticks.