We are coming up on an entire week of blissful happiness in this house. For almost seven straight days now, I have been able to talk to my children, to walk them through disappointments and to thwart what previously would have been surefire tantrum starters. For their part, my babies have been infinitely more patient with me as I struggle to understand their conversation attempts. They have been more articulate and just all-around more happy. It is for weeks like these that I live.
Of course, they come at the cost of much struggle and strife. For the two weeks previous, my babies were nothing short of terrors. They cried about everything, tantrumed at the drop of a hat. I had negative five seconds to figure out what they were asking for before full-blown flopping and wailing commenced. And as always, the babies managed to keep this up for just one day more than I thought I could stand without completely losing my sanity.
These breakdowns occur fairly regularly – once every few months, at least. And each time, I forget that there were ever good times, that I ever got along with my kids, that my kids even liked me. It’s a stressful and disheartening cycle, but it is worth it.
Because with every week of full-on break-down drive-mom-crazy comes a breakthrough so profound, I cannot help but beam with pride. A few months ago, it was two-word sentences. I was on the brink of tears that time, when the tantruming stopped as suddenly as it began. In its place? Two-word sentences. I was amazed.
This time, the tantrum stage lasted longer. I was just about out of hugs and tears when suddenly I had happy babies again. And not only are they happy, but they are talking. I mean, really talking. They are using correct tenses. They are using pronouns. They are describing actions, counting objects, and formulating ideas and opinions on things. They are becoming people.
And on top of that, their imaginations have taken flight. They have gone from needing me to lead them in games and distractions, to playing with each other for long periods of time. We’re talking at least 10 minutes at a time! Whatever one sets about to, the other one soon joins, and they make up rules immediately. Then they stick to the rules they have together decided upon. I’m shocked and thrilled.
So, if you are at the end of your rope, cling to it with your nails and teeth if you have to. Chances are, a major breakthrough is just around the corner, and that breakthrough will be worth all of the breakdowns.
(To see where I was just about a week ago, check out I Will Die on Every Hill. The babies have also started eating again. Always remember, what you and your babies are going through is likely a phase, and phases pass.)
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