Tough Little Lessons

On Saturday morning, we took Emma to Valmont Bike Park for the Strider Cup races. We were looking forward to spending some family time together after being cooped up at home and AJ being at work all week.


Emma raced well and was in the championship race after qualifying rounds. I went out further on the course to shoot some photos. Getting into position, I could hear faint screams of frustration that sounded like Emma. Sure enough, back at the finish line I see her bike on the ground and her sulking off towards a chair under a tent.

The gate hadn’t dropped, and in my mind at that moment all I could think of was trying to get Emma back to that starting line. Before we could get her back though, the race started and the parents started cheering. The noise snapped Emma out of her tantrum, and she started yelling that she wanted to race. We scrambled to grab her bike, throw on her helmet and get her off on course. She rode a couple feet just to see that her fellow competitors weren’t even in site anymore. Her racing was done!

Then the real trouble began. I came to find out she was frustrated because she didn’t have a bell on her bike like the kid at the start line next to her did. AJ tried his best to reason with her that she can have her bell from her goody bag after the race. Typically, we can get her to snap out of fits by distracting her. It didn’t happen this time of all the times. While she was in hysterics, AJ walked away. He was fairly frustrated with Emma and having a hard time not letting it show.

She hadn’t had a fit for awhile now. At the same time, he was frustrated at us for fueling the fire. Yes, she is three (well almost), and three year olds have trouble expressing their feelings and get upset for unknown reasons. But, maybe we haven’t helped by giving in to things.

It’s hard to not blame myself for passing on traits like stubbornness. It has its time and place but not currently on the start line of a race. It’s hard to not want to come down on myself for giving her so much. No, she doesn’t get every toy she sees. No, she doesn’t tell us what to do. But, we tend to give in maybe more than we should when she wants five more minutes to play with a friend or one more Peppa as she is snuggling in our lapa. For me, those are the things I struggle with. Because those are the times that her happiness, zest for life and love shows. Face it, we all have those moments where we just don’t want to hear the crying or fight with them. So naturally, we’ve given in at times whether its running into the house when about to leave because she “needs” this one toy or telling her she has five more minutes that leads to 10 or 15 minutes in the long run.

The weekends, and a couple hours before bed midweek, are AJ’s time with Emma. He doesn’t want to remember them for a temper tantrum. I was picturing Emma so proud holding a trophy or medal at the finish line with the excitement carrying over when she told friends and family about it. The Clark Griswold in a person comes out when you have expectations of how things are going to go. Having a toddler, we should know better than to have expectations. Although lately, she has been showing more patience and the ability to let things go.

Ten minutes later and all calmed down, she then was upset that she didn’t have a medal or trophy. We talked to her about how her actions caused her the chance to earn one. In turn, she also missed out on more racing. It was a tough little lesson to learn!

The rest of this week is action packed with Emma’s 3rd party. She also has three other friend’s b-day parties. She has her first true riding lesson, and I hope we can pick some berries too.

This post I am grateful for:

The climbing wall finally being done…. This means AJ can take a break from the backyard finally. Last year, he built my garden boxes having to tear up an area of the lawn to put them in after spending weeks taking apart our patio and relaying it. He needs a looooong break from the backyard!

For a loving family who have already found all kinds of fun things to do when Emma and I come back to visit in October.

That I have the ability to enjoy small moments with Emma because I’m not stressed over how to pay a bill or meet Emma’s needs. That is why I’m also trying to collect more moments than things. Having the latest and greatest isn’t that important when it means it adds stress and worry about how to pay for it when I should be focused on my time with Emma.

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