The other day, I remarked to Mike that Kiwi was at the easiest stage of the three kids right now. NEVER, EV-ER say things like that. I should know by now that the minute you think that your child has reached a certain stage, has mastered a skill, or that your baby is on a schedule, things are about to change.
I know this, so it should be no surprise to me that since this conversation, Kiwi has been testing boundaries and throwing fits over things that she hasn't in months.
In my experience parenting young children, this seems to be the way it goes. "Easy" (if there is anything easy about being a parent) stages are usually followed by more challenging ones, becoming lax in an expectation will almost immediately result in your child sensing that and testing to see if the boundary is still there. It's like climbing a mountain where the terrian changes from gentle hills, flat plateaus (enjoy these stages), steep inclines only ascended by sheer will, and downward slopes that leave you climbing back up a hill you were sure you'd climbed before. And although the progress is slow and sometimes almost indiscernible, when you take the time to really look back, you will realize how much stronger you have become. And when you take the time to really, truly look at your child, to take in the wonder of it all, to realize that although the days sometimes all blend together as one, there is this amazing little person developing right before your eyes.
So I will try and see Kiwi throwing a temper tantrum for forty minutes this afternoon and pouring her drink down the kitchen sink because it was in a red heart cup instead of the flower sippy cup without a lid that she wanted for what it is. Just another tiny hill in this adventure that I am on with these beautiful children. I will remember how grateful I am to be blessed with the opportunity to help this sweet, stubborn, stubborn little cowgirl of ours (and her two brothers) on her journey. And I will continue to pray to know the right combination of how to navigate this journey; when to hold tightly to little hands, when to carry, when to lead, when to follow, and how to gradually give them the tools so that they can one day climb their own mountains.