This week I was reminded that growing up is hard work, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a tragedy.
LM has been on the go for months, teetering on the brink of walking independently, exerting her extreme desire for independence – even if it means a boo-boo here or there. She shouts when she wants something, signs please and thank-you, even says “Hi”, “Daddy”, “yay”, and even occasionally “Mommy”. She nurses only a few times during the day of her own accord and wants “mommy eats” the rest of the time. She has also become a pro with a straw and loves her water and the occasional drink of Eggnog.
My baby is turning into a toddler before my eyes. Growing, changing, molding her own little personality that has many traits of SCM and Me but also some that are just so independently her. In fact, she is turning the big “1” in just a matter of days, we are officially in the single digits until my baby is a toddler.
I keep saying to people
“I am not sure how I feel about her birthday”
that isn’t because I am sad to watch her grow up, it isn’t because I don’t want her to, the sadness stems from something else entirely. I am sad because her “baby” period is over and Daddy missed it. That is what hurts my heart the most that Daddy missed so much of her baby-hood. I know he will be here for Toddler-hood, and the challenges of Adolescents but for some reason it is hard for me to know he missed that short little baby window in so many ways.
Sexy Czech Medic, while sad in some ways is so happy she is growing up into her own little person despite having missed to much of the early times. He has a much better attitude about “missing out” then me. And upon reflecting that exact phrase … “missing out” I realized that it only feels that way if I let it feel that way. SCM is just blessed to have her and see her when he can and hear all about what she is doing, LM won’t be able to look back and remember, and I, I am mommy, so I am piling on feelings enough for all three of us.
So I have been trying to just enjoy LM and be excited for her growing up and her birthday, and make it as much fun for her and as recorded and noted as possible for Daddy. Because I AM glad that she is growing into the wonderful little lady that she is and I want her to feel and know that.
LM’s “growing pains” have been much more flamboyant than my own, though they do have similarities. Such as random fits of tears and meltdowns.
Little Miss has become very daring as she climbs things such as the piano, coffee table, and even the dishwasher. She has no fear and it has cost her a couple bumps and bruises this week as she tried to jump onto the coffee table and broke her fall with her lip. It didn’t hold her back at all though as she attempted it again just minutes later. She loves attempting to take down the Christmas Tree, eat the dogs toys and scream with flying arms if she doesn’t get her way.
Sleeping at night has become a challenge as she has started waking up screaming. I pray it is just her teeth and she isn’t taking after Daddy in having nightmares. We’ve been co-sleeping again more and more to try to get her to sleep through the night but often I become a jungle gym, so I’ve had to make the choice to put her down and let her work it out, sometimes with me – sometimes in her crib.
Often during the day she becomes bored with Mommy and being in the house and it leads to more power struggles during the day than I would like, and a much more frazzled mommy than I would prefer. I’ve started trying to remember to get out of the house, if only for a walk or quick trip to the store or Grandma’s house. The change of scenery, the activity, does wonders for us both.
With LM’s pains I have come to realize the following 5 things in particular:
1. Patience Really is a Virtue: She is struggling with this transition to Toddler-hood just as much as I am struggling to adjust to her being there. If I look at it that way and NOT like a malicious attack on myself I am able to better evaluate the situation and find a solution that is much more appropriate then reacting out of hast.
2. Some Days Just Suck: Yup I said it. Some days just aren’t good days. BUT – that is Okay. Those are days to take a deep breathe, snuggle when I can, give her space to just do her messy thing and breathe. Tomorrow will be better, it isn’t the end of the world, I didn’t fail as a parent.
3. My Cues are Her Cues: This is a big one I have noticed. When I am in a crappy mood for whatever reason, chances are she is in one too. And then it turns into power play because I am cranky and she is cranky and it turns into one of those “sucky days” when maybe it didn’t have to. If I remember to make the effort to wake up on the “proper side of the bed” chances are she will have a better day then if I didn’t. We are human and we feed off of one another’s emotions, even if we don’t intend to.
4. Let the Mess Happen: It is vital to allow children the ability to play on their own. To explore, test their boundaries safely, and yes make a mess. So those times with LM decides to empty the pantry, or the cupboard, or dump every toy box in the house I remember to let it happen and worry about the mess later. I let her play with the curtains and offer gentle reminders “not to pull” if she starts, I let her bang on the piano and explore her musical side (so much like Daddy), I let her bang on the washer and dryer, and even pull my yarn apart because saying “YES” has more developmental and sanity benefits than all the “No’s” in the world.
5. Find Laughter: No matter what the day holds, if it’s a “sucky” day or an “awesome” day. Laugh. Laugh for yourself, for your children, for everyone. Find something to laugh about because laughter lifts the spirits. So especially on sucky days, find a a reason to laugh. I found today that LM LOVES when I tickle her with my toes, but only if I have socks on, we had a blast today. She was full of so many giggles from sun up to sun down. Her laughter made me laugh and it turned what started out to be a sucky day into a pretty darn good one.
What were your hardest moments as your children transitioned? For you? For them?