Out of my intrepid fear of cliches, I may have been unclear with Tuesday's post. Even though we survived the Spawnocalypse--two and a half years of transition from daydreaming newlyweds to sometimes-haggard parents of back-to-back babies--this journey and blog are far from over.

But, at the risk of using dark analogies to describe parenthood (who, me?), my point was that we've won the first battle of an 18-to-20-year war.

So far, we've survived and succeeded in so many ways (if I do say so myself).

What I think I botched at the end of that post is the point that even though I personally feel very much like a work in progress, Gunnar and Annalie, so far, are damned near perfect.

Sure, they're sometimes defiant, loud, messy, irreverent, loud, and challenging. But overall, I'm hard-pressed to complain.

And this scares me. For one, it sounds a lot like the way my parents used to describe me (okay, just the perfect part). And with that label--perfect--came stress and anxiety over the notion of ever being anything less.

Whether it was due to my parenting or coded into my psyche, I think I put so much energy into being good--thoughtful, respectful, caring, obedient--that I never fulfilled my potential to be strong, intelligent, independent, and ambitious. Good girls didn't push the envelope (see what happens when you get on that slippery cliche slope?!) or make waves (yeech...).

Making crossroads with these traits is something I honestly never tried until I became a mom.

So I'm torn. I want to preserve everything that is innocent and sincere about these kids to ensure they grow to be solid, decent adults. But as I was trying to say here, I don't want to discipline away their instinct toward independent thought. How do we hang on to just the right amount of noise and defiance?

Both Gunnar and Annie (she seems to do everything at close to the same time, rather than age) are beginning to dabble in the testing phase. They know the rules, but still they push and then push a little more. If you average their ages, it's about time for us to enter their collective terrible twos.

I'm not sure this next battle is one I want to win in the traditional sense; I want them to succeed.

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Tags: discipline, toddler

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