Actually, that was good timing...

I've been a whiny little brat about my job on far too many occasions this year. However, since the end of the school year is in sight, with two glorious months off and we have weird short week with Tuesday off for elections, well, I am feeling a little more positive about the whole thing.

During Laurel's first year, her needs were fairly simple. Milk. Sleep. Swaddle. Diaper. Extra loud AM radio static blasting all night long. Any fool can do this if you are up to the challenge of severe sleep deprivation.

The second year is proving to be more challenging, but I think there is no better way to learn to parent a toddler then to spend half your day with teenagers. As we work out what the family rules are for food and play and safety and wearing clothes and hitting and sharing, I have this constant thought in the background...."in twelve years, she'll be one of THEM." Not that I've figured out the perfect way to parent. However, I do tend to think about rules and limits in ways that challenge Laurel to learn how to make decisions and solve her own problems. I try to think of a reasonable and clear explanation for limits before I just say something arbitrary that would shut a one year old up, but isn't really true.

Is 18 months old too young to be be a problem solver?

How can I make sure that Laurel eats healthy food while giving her the freedom to choose when and what she wants to eat? Because frankly, M and I have the freedom as do most adults.

How do I create a bedtime routine that is comforting but allows for flexibility with special occasions or nights when she simply isn't sleepy at 7:00pm?

I think there are some things that you do differently at different stages, and you have to change up over time. But there also seem to be a lot of things that sort of set the tone for how the family will operate, like family meals and going to church and how the dishes get washed.

Laurel is in a seriously obstinate phase. Her first reaction to practically everything seems to be stomping or shrieking or laying on the floor at the most inopportune times. I think I could be more strict with her...more demanding of her actions. I could tell her exactly what to do, and force her into doing it because she's little enough to scoop up, even for as wiggly as she is. But will that really teach her what I want to?

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