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Challenge: Open Discussion

To Mom, from your toddler: I am doing my best

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Hi mommy. It’s me, your toddler.

I want you to know something that might not be so clear all the time: I am doing the best I can.

Sometimes it seems like you wish I had a whole lot more figured out by now—like how to control my body and emotions all the time. Or how to manage my time, fix my mistakes, or keep myself busy on my own.

But, I haven’t been around very long, and this whole life thing is still taking some getting used to.

I’m not trying to give you a hard time. I’m never trying to make things difficult. And I certainly don’t try to make you mad.

I’m learning and I’m trying to be “better” every day.

But can you hear me out for a minute, mom?

Sometimes when you’re frustrated with me you say things like, “What’s wrong with you?” and I’m not sure if you’re really waiting for an answer. I don’t think so, so I just wonder what, in fact, is wrong with me. I like it when you tell me what to do instead and help me to do it when I need it.


Sometimes you tell me to stop crying or that I’m “fine” when I’m upset. But, I don’t feel fine. It makes me think you’re not comfortable with my big feelings, so I’m learning maybe it’s better if I just keep them inside. I love when you just sit with me and let me know it’s okay to cry sometimes.

Sometimes you say things like, “That’s not nice” and I think you’re telling me I’m not nice. It makes me feel bad about myself and also doesn’t actually help me to figure out how to “be nice” again. I wonder if sometimes you could believe that there’s a reason I’m misbehaving—even when you can’t understand it—and then give me ideas for better choices to make.

Sometimes you demand me to say I’m sorry for something immediately— before I’ve even had the chance to do so on my own. I usually know when I’ve done something wrong; I get that same icky feeling inside that you get. I feel better when I get the chance to process that feeling so I can make a genuine apology on my own. And I‘m learning how to do that by watching you do so when you’ve messed up.

And mom, sometimes I wonder if you say and do things just because you’re afraid of being judged by other adults who are around—rather than trusting your own intuition and ability to make the best decisions for your family; I trust you mom—you’re mine for a reason.

Toddlerhood is exciting and challenging, isn’t it, mom?

This phase is new for us, but I know we’re meant to learn and grow with one another—side by side.

Thank you for doing the best you can, mom. I promise I’m doing the best I can, too.

And I promise to love you through it all. No matter what.

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