1/21/09

Resolutions made daily

Dear Zoe,

This weekend was rough. I was not the mother, the person, I wanted to be. I was sick with this miserable head cold, my sinuses so stuffed and swollen I could barely think. All I wanted to do was gulp some serious cold medicine and lie down to read or watch mindless TV and you (and your unborn sister) prevented me from having the quiet, lazy, medicated weekend of my dreams. I was the petulant child not getting what I wanted, mentally stamping my feet and sticking out my lip.

You needed a patient, creative, attentive mother this weekend and I wasn't it. You tested us repeatedly; asking for reminders about the Rules of the Table before flagrantly throwing food with a smile on your face. This made me mad. I forgot you were a toddler still learning and relearning the rules and I got annoyed like you were an adult who meant to personally offend me, who was kicking me while I was down. You had accidents (Yes Fates, YOU GOT ME): asking to go potty, spending your time there pulling toilet paper off the roll and asking for endless recitations of favorite potty books, only to get off the potty and make poop in your underwear not 2 minutes later. It felt, to my stuffy, tired, impatient, selfish brain, like the ultimate F YOU. It wasn't, of course. I see that now and, well, I'm pretty ashamed of myself. I know better than to take your testing of limits personally but I did anyway.

It all reminded me a little too much of my first trimester. How awful I felt. How much I didn't like myself as a mother. How my lack of creativity and patience only led to more dawdling and whining and misbehavior. How we both suffered.

This week I have renewed my efforts and, of course, we are getting along swimmingly. We're back to using the potty and wearing underwear with zero fuss. Mealtimes have been pleasant and unremarkable. The biggest change is my behavior, of course. Mostly I have given us more time to get things done so I've rarely had to ask you to "Hurry up". (This is always a big clue I need to step back. I mean, really, is there anything more insane than asking a toddler to hurry up? Would it kill me to let you take the five dawdling minutes you need to chose your naptime books or get yourself into your carseat or put on your socks? Couldn't I just start making dinner ten minutes earlier, mentally including time to help you with your toys or cleaning up after your spills as you "help" me with dinner? Will I ever learn that when I do allow more time, it is more pleasant for both of us and, shockingly, actually more efficient than when I try to rush you?)

I wake up each day reminding myself to give us both more space and more time. I vow to remember that you are a child, in many ways still a baby. And I, as your mother, have a chance each and every day to start over.

Love,

your Clueless But Hopeful Mama

4 comments:

Hillary said...

Zoe obviously has a good momma, one ready to admit to her mistakes. It's a good lesson for kids to pick up.

desperate housewife said...

You're so right about how allowing time for childishness is actually MORE efficient in the long run! I mentally curse myself every single day for forgetting this and then triggering a meltdown with my harpy little "Hurry up! Let's go!" comments.

Kathi McCracken Dente said...

As always, honest and so very true. Go easy on yourself. We all struggle with this stuff daily. I attempt to hurry Mira along all the time. I really need to work on letting her be two and take her time. But, this age can be so hard. I find myself getting frustrated too often. I am learning how to embrace the "twoness". Wish me luck!

Michelle said...

I never thought it would be so difficult to take care of another person when you aren't feeling well until my little Peanut gave me a stomach virus and a horrific cold in the span of a month. I feel your pain. I love your honesty.

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