My hairy Zen baby is in her “terrible twos”. She is beautiful, lovable, and very snuggly, and she wants to rule the world. I try to tell myself: “She has leadership abilities” when she pours milk all over the counter, and looks up at me with laughing defiance. “She’s going to make a real difference in the world,” I say, when she resists bedtime, night after night. She jumps off her toy box, whoops loudly, tips over furniture, and kicks her baby gate down, despite my best parenting efforts. She just has so much ENERGY. Her first year, she just smiled, cooed and looked dreamy. We knew she had some mischief in her, because she laughed hysterically every time her big brother got in trouble. We became concerned when, at 11 months, she would pretend he had pushed her down as part of a ploy to see him punished.
It is all I can do to keep her from completely destroying the house during daylight, so lately, I’ve been taking it easy at night. The way I see it, there are two ways I can approach her bedtime defiance:
1. I can run upstairs every ten minutes to plunk her in time-out or remove toys (spankings wind this child up and are completely useless). This leaves me exhausted and frazzled, and fills Zoë with an even greater resolve not to sleep.
2. I can ignore it and only go upstairs if I hear cries of pain or things breaking.
If my strong-willed, energetic child gets a little spoiled, she will still turn out to be a reasonably good human being.