Ages and stages, right? I wish that just making it through the next few months would alleviate some of our current parenting challenges. There are also personality traits that are imbedded for life. The strong willed, independent, sometime defiant little one is not going to become any less of those things at future ages and stages. The parent challenges are not going to end, just evolve as she grows.
Right now I can still figure out when she is up to something, but her sneaks will become more subtle. There won't be the tell-tale blue stains left by the Silly Putty shining on her sheets, even though it is not allowed in her room. The wadded up clothes that have been hidden won't be from the same Silly Putty that won't come off the shirt or skirt or leggings and I'll wish for today, the afternoon that I spent time cutting the globs out of her fuchsia, shag rug.
Those future moments are why the little things, in the grand scheme of life, need my full attention. I have to embrace the moment and all the hard parts of parenting. The uncomfortable conversations (over and over) are my job. If I don't stop to say that choices matter, I'm not parenting to my fullest. If I don't hold true and uphold consequences that have been promising, I'm not parenting to my fullest.
Right now I don't like these moments at all. I make sure she knows I love her, even when I don't like what we are dealing with. I give myself timeouts when I need a few deep breaths, perspective, and a chance to think it through. We, so far, have always ended with one or both of us apologizing and hugging each other. That is a part I hope never stops, no matter the age or stage.