Rondel is entering toddlerhood and with that has come a marked uptick in his use of the word “no.”
“Do you want to go to the library?” (one of his favorite destinations)
“Are you hungry?”
“no hungry! no food! no dinner!” (followed by a blood sugar crash about 30 minutes later)
He’ll even hear me offering something to Limerick and say no for him!
I know on a rational level that this is normal and good. The development of opinion, will, and identity is an extremely important aspect of toddlerhood, and when the pendulum swings away from the automatic compliance of babyhood it tends to swing a bit farther than we parents would like. Rondel’s petulance and negativity are simply part and parcel of his growing up, of the huge transition taking place in his mind as it matures, and they probably overwhelm him, and throw him off balance, just as much as they irritate me.
In the moment, however, it is incredibly hard to deal with the litany of “no!”s and respond to my boy with patience, gentleness, and love. If I’m honest with myself, I sometimes just want to scream at him to shut up and stop saying no. But that would be so detrimental to his development as an individual! While his will needs to ultimately submit to God’s authority, just like every other part of his being, it needs to be able to grow and mature so that in its submission to God it is a complete, beautiful, and useful tool. So instead of trying to break or control his will as it emerges from the cocoon of babyhood, my responsibility as his parent is to guide its maturation – to give him the space and freedom to use it and experience the natural fallout of using it, within clear and safe boundaries of course 🙂
Let’s just say I’m going to need an increase in the fruit of the Spirit to match this increase of the Little Man’s will! With God’s grace, I’m hoping we can make it through this season with joy, trust, and understanding intact, instead of turning our relationship into a never-ending power struggle.