There is no doubt that Keegan keeps us on our toes. After all, her name means "Little Fierce One". In everything she does, she is either 0% or 150%, she is usually either sleeping or on the move. And as we move through her third year (which feels odd to write because she is two, but it is her third year of life), we find her testing us more and more to see what her limits are. In fact she will be rather up front about it and when we ask her to do something she will do a version of it and say, "Like this?", try a different version and say, "Like this?" and will go through that in several different ways to see what she can and cannot get away with. For example, we will ask her to sit on her bum instead of standing in the cart at the store and she will sit on her bum with her legs down, sit on her bum with her legs up, sit on her bum while squatting, and then will stand to see what we will accept and what we won't as we ask her to sit down.
In addition to her testing her boundaries, she is at the stage where she knows what she is feeling, but she can't quite communicate it to her satisfaction. We worked a lot with Mac at this age, practicing what to say when we had an idea what she was upset about. So we have started that with Keegan as well. If they drop something in the car, before we get it for them we practice saying, "Mommy, I dropped my toy, can you help me please." MacKenzie has this phrase down pat, Keegan usually gets the "Mama, help please" part pretty well. Instead of feeding into their emotions and getting upset with their outbursts, we show them how to ask the way we want them to ask. And because we don't comply with their want until they try to ask they learn fairly quickly how to communicate what they need or want.
It is important to work with them on those communication skills though and that was abundantly obvious today at lunch. We went out for lunch and towards the end of the meal, Keegan was getting extra squirmy. This is not unlike her, but usually I can distract her with my theoretical bag of tricks. She was having none of it and was getting more and more upset, distracting the tables around us. I quickly went through the list of questions trying to figure out what was wrong, if she was just testing our limits or if there was a legitimate need. I asked her if her tummy hurt in the slew of questions and that made her even more upset. I felt her tummy, but couldn't get a good feel for it as she was sobbing and getting more and more frantic and loud. I rushed her outside so she wouldn't disturb anyone else in the restaurant (as all of this had escalated in a minute or two) and asked her again what was wrong. As I crouched there beside her she was crying and all of the sudden let out a little burp and then a much bigger belch. After that she stopped crying, smiled at me, and held my hand so we could walk back in.
While she was still a little squirmy for the rest of the meal, she wasn't upset and making a scene like she was before. I am so glad I trusted my instincts to communicate with her rather than feed into her panic and my frustration that our nice lunch out was quickly going south. I could have gotten mad (and have in the past, I'm not saying I remember this all the time) and made a scene with her. I could have yelled at her or punished her for something that I shouldn't have and I am glad I took the time to ask a couple extra questions to get to the root of the problem. I can imagine the pain she was in that it escalated that quickly. Granted there are times that kids and being kids and learning how to operate within the world around them which means sometimes they have naughty behavior. But there are other times when they just simply cannot communicate a legitimate need and that is exceedingly frustrating to them. It is my job as these kids parent to work with them to filter out those times that can be resolved the easy way instead of the hard way.
All of this being said, I just heard Mattie walk into the bathroom where Keegan had climbed on the bathroom counter in order to get at the stash of "Potty" jelly beans. She has a mighty strong will!
P.S. I cannot remember if I shared this picture or not, but Matt had the brilliant idea to tape Keegan's doll's fingers too at night to help with the finger taping process!