Eme's 2, which in itself presents normal issues like testing the boundaries, being defiant, which many would say she is establishing her independence in a typical 2 year old way. But with Eme, there is no such thing as 'normal'.
There is no such thing as typical 2 year old behavior when a child has had a life filled with disruptions and learning to not trust adults.
So far, disciplining Eme has not really been something we've had to focus on because well, she wasn't 2. We could tell her not to touch something and she listened for the most part, but now that her will is coming into play, it makes for some messy quick thinking decision making on a minute by minute basis. Eme testing me, doesn't mean she's establishing her independence, it means she's seeing if this Mom is strong enough to take care of her. Her defiance, doesn't mean she's being stubborn, it means she wants to control the situation. By her controlling the situation she feels safe in her own little world because she has learned that adults don't keep her safe.
Things are going to get a whole lot more difficult during this dethroning phase and I'm saying with the utmost of confidence, that this Mommy will prevail. Eme needs to know that we are strong enough for her to know what she truly needs. She has trust issues, she is high anxiety, she is scarred by her past and that past holds a lot of power over her current abilities to deal with her own behavior. Eme can not self regulate. I explain it like she's been strapped to a chair for the first 15 months of her life and now she has all this freedom, the ability to move, run, play, grab, touch, wiggle, jump, eat, climb & lick. It's like an open window and everything is just coming in at her full speed. She doesn't know when to listen, when to stop, when to chill, when to sit, when to stand, walk, run or play. She has to do it all RIGHT now. She has to TOUCH it, GBAB it, EXPERIENCE it. She is grabby hands extraordinaire.
Eme did not have the opportunity to learn these skills, hell, she didn't have the opportunity to learn to sit up, roll over, sit, stand, or walk until 15 months into her life. She missed the whole first year of her life physically and emotionally. She is not a typical 2 year old. She blew through those physical hurdles within 2 months of her life, but the emotional challenges are far from being on the same page.
I'm learning right along side of her as to how to parent the child that has no self regulating skills. In order for her to be able to self regulate, she has to be securely attached and once again, attachment is a process, not an instant thing that happens. So where are we in our attachment? We are chugging along. To the unknowing, the uneducated, we are rock solid, golden, beautifully connected and every ignorant person would say that Eme knows her family is forever and look how far she's come. To us, her parents that have seen the scars on her broken heart know that she is a work in progress. She is beautifully connected to us and she seeks us for her comfort, her needs, our love, but we are still growing in that attachment.
We have seen the different stages of her attachment, but yet at a minutes notice, what appears to be a rock solid attachment can turn into an anxious attachment. Eme has a lot going on and keeping her with me is the only way that she will learn to self regulate. She is not capable of handling play with other children her age. Thank God for Jaylee across the street, because she is learning right along side of Eme. We let them practice their mad play skills on each other ;0)
We RARELY go to a restaurant with her. We can not take her on more than 2 excursions a day, participate in story times, play dates, fun tumbling classes to burn her energy or let her have free play at the park because this is more than she can handle. She doesn't know how to handle herself.
So what appears to be naughty typical 2 year old behavior, is in fact not typical. We are working on a lot with Eme that the outside world doesn't see or understand and every time I hear how normal it is, I just want to poke my eyes out.
We'll get there...eventually...