Kinda totally unrelated to The Man Child and these photos...
Kids are different.
I know that kids are different, and thus some kiddos are harder to raise than others, but still...
I used to think it was my fault that I had a tough-to-raise kiddo. Or a few of them.The kind that learns to climb 5' block walls barefoot at the age of 3. Or the typo of kiddo that doesn't really care if they are grounded or not. Or the one that runs away protesting your shortcomings in detail to your neighbors. Or the kiddo that tantrums, screaming loudly with snot running down his face in pubic without a care in the world about who sees it. I used to think I did something wrong or missed doing something right. Maybe I did both, but now I'm old enough to have 92 cumulative years of parenting under my belt, (It makes me feel smarter to add all the years cumulatively so just let me, kay?) and really appreciate that kids really do come out of the womb different and through no fault of my own that makes some of them harder to raise than others.
But like I said this kiddo was having a particularly bad day. I don't remember what triggered it, but things were said. Things were broken. And the hours passed. The bad days for this child are fewer and father between, but they still happen. And when they do she digs her heels in hard and doesn't let go.
So we went to the UPS store to drop off a package and had to interact with the worker behind the counter. Sometimes that does it. But no, it still wasn't working.
So we went to the grocery store and pick up a few non-essentials. She hid behind my skirts while muttering really awful things. Through the dairy section. Past the Starbucks. Through the cereal isle. She repetitively tried to crash the cart into the merchandise or make the cart run over her foot. Then we got to the produce section, and she spotted the vegetables. Peppers. Baby carrots. Celery. Sugar snap peas. Her favorites.
Can we get some and take them home for dinner?
Yep! You pick them out and put them in the cart!
She spent 5 minutes in the produce section making her choices. And in those moments, food combined with her own power to regulate mood brought back my girl, out of her darkness and back to me.
And I am reminded of something I tell my children all the time. Hard stuff isn't bad. It's just hard. Anyone can do the easy stuff. It's easy when it's easy. But when it's hard it's good and makes us better, stronger and helps up learn who we really are and what we're capable of... just like parenting. Just because parenting is hard, doesn't make it bad. I needed that reminder. Sometimes it really is hard, and sometimes I want to holler and say ugly things and throw in the towel. But it's so good not only for me, but also for my children to see me do hard things and come out of it better and stronger. Just like those hard-to-parent little ones that have now grown into hard-to-parent teenagers that are also coming out of it better and stronger.