disciplining toddlersI’ve always been kind of a bad ass. I’m not trying to brag, but people don’t generally mess with me.

Maybe it’s due to my line of work, which has given me a thick skin and above average people management skills. I’ve been a bartender for over 20 years. Behind that bar, I’ve always been known as the woman to send the difficult customers to. For some reason, even the most ornery jerks don’t abuse me.

It’s not that I’m mean — quite the contrary, actually. I just possess an air of “I’m not going to take your shit.” And it works. On everyone but my toddler. Mom’s a bad ass – but apparently he hasn’t gotten the memo.

Having mastered the nuance of dealing with the general public, I was sure that when I had a child I would have no problems with discipline. I imagined myself as one of those mothers who could administer “the look” and have her child fall into line. You know “the look” I’m talking about – the one that makes your child stop whatever he’s doing, apologize profusely, and go make you an omelet?

Yeah, right.

I used to hate it when people would say, “you have no idea how hard it is until you become a mother.” But you know what? Whatever images you have in your mind about the mother you will be, whatever fantasies you have about the way your children will act — you might as well abandon them right now.

You have no idea how hard it is until you become a mother.

My son just had his second birthday, so I guess I should have seen it coming. Everyone has heard about the “terrible twos.” I, of course, had heard of them, too. I just couldn’t imagine any event or circumstance that would turn my child from a sweet, smiling, satisfied baby into a whining, pissed off, impossible-to-please toddler.

There’s not a whole lot of need for discipline when you have a baby. They just spend the whole day “being.” They eat, stare, smile, and play with their fingers. Then baby turns into older baby, and they do much of the same – with a little more mobility. They eat, stare, smile, start to mimic and crawl. You see them start to eye things out of their reach and begin to childproof your home. At this point, your house still looks like a home – not a succession of empty rooms with toys strewn about. You believe you’ve got the mothering thing down. Yay, you!