In the last 3 months since I've really been dedicating my time to this space, my goals have evolved. I began to personalize things as I made connections with other bloggers who seemed to (I hope) genuinely want to get to know me. I am a bit more than steps 1-5, and I want my readers to understand me and relate to what I have to say. In order for that to happen I have to push beyond the, "hey, look what I made!" That original moment of clarity resulted in this post. It was therapeutic, well received and best of all, I had people commenting who related to what I was feeling and connected to my words.
I love a good DIY and I will continue to post my crafty goodness with the intention to inspire, but these Keeping it Uncharacteristically Simple posts are going to become part of The Patchwork Paisley on the regular with the intention to connect, vent, emote and just write.
This past week was all about the epic battle of wills. The current struggle being between myself and my own will power, and then separately, the will of a 3 years old vs. Mom, aka "the bad guy." I am not the first person to draw this conclusion, nor am I the first person who will utter these words, but let me just say the terrible twos should be the terrible threes.
I know every parent goes through the struggle, we have all been there, we will be there again...and again. Hearing that, doesn't make it any easier in the moment. I am getting whiplash from Violet's mood swings. She has always been a Daddy's girl and I know it's the nature of parent-child relationships that they will forever vacillate, but allow me to vent for a second as I am in the midst of experiencing this for the very first time. Everything is a fight. E V E R Y T H I N G.
|I'm taking the pic and wearing little miss Ruby in a sling.|
We took a family trip to the farm on Sunday with my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, and the babies. It was in the mid 80s (in Jersey. I don't know what is going on with this weather, but I swear if the world ends it's going to start right here in good ol' N-J.) It was crowded, but there was lots to do, which meant lots of situations that called for Violet to muster up some patience and Mommy some tolerance. I have to say, with the exception of the occasional whiny spell, she was really good. She even waited nicely in line to get her face painted for the first time (and would you look at that face?) Then, about 15 minutes in to that line it dawned on me: what kind of hell is she going to raise when we try to wash that off her face tonight? I came realized something in the moment...I'm scared of my kid!
One second she is sweet as pie, crawling up in my lap, full of hugs and kisses. The next thing I know, I go to get her out of bed in the morning and it's "No Mommy, go away, leave me alone." Brushing her hair is like trying to wrangle a greased pig, or put a hair bow on a bucking bronco. Her favorite word lately? "Nope." Not a defiant "no," I got used to those a long time ago. No is firm and concise. Nope is playful. Until it comes out of the mouth of a 3 year old as the answer to every request. THEN it is maddening.
Me? I'm emotional. I know this is normal, I think I am dealing with things the right way, and then I am certain I'm doing it all wrong and she hates me. Crazy right? She doesn't hate me, she's not capable of hating me. These are my hormones talking, but man it is like someone is twisting a knife in my gut. Last night she wanted me to lay with her before bed and I just about cried with joy. I cuddled up next to her while she lovingly stroked my forehead (yes I said she did that to me. How cute is that?) Usually I am counting down the minutes that tick by so that I can still have a little bit of "couch time" as the hubs and I call it, before I pass out. Last night I relished every second laying in bed with her. I appreciated her sweetness instead of anticipating the next outburst. I also realized that maybe for her to better control her emotions, I have to get my own in check. I must have burst in to tears 5 times in the last 3 days. I thought I was losing my mind and then I reconnected with the perfect scapegoat- PMS. Its been almost a whole year since I could blame my own mood swings on those 3 little letters. Suddenly it's all clear as day. Violet isn't any less irritable, but maybe with a little less guilt on my shoulders I can reevaluate the situation: She is going through a lot of changes right now. She's exerting her independence while trying not to lose the love and affection that comes with being the baby. She has a new little sister, hears someone else being called "the baby" and has to share Mommy and Daddy (especially mommy.) She's in preschool now, her first experience in an organized, day to day learning environment away from home, and on top of all that, she has a hard time communicating as her speech is still quite jumbled and unclear.
You may be wondering why, if I know all these things, am I having issues? This is a chance for me to put in words all the things I tend to forget in the heat of the moment. It is evidence of my efforts to understand and work through this instead of lock myself up in my attic and have a good, full-on, ugly cry. It is also a reminder so that the next time I'm on the verge of losing it (and there will be a next time) I can come back here and remember all of the above.
In stead of focusing on the bad, I'm going to think about...
- when she hides from us and we pretend to look for her, she giggles loudly and when we narrate all the places we're looking while avoiding her obvious hiding place ("Is sheeee under the bed?") she answers "no" each time. Once we find her, she immediately wants to do it again...and hides in the same spot.
- when she goes number 2, she always tells us "how many plops" it was.
- the way she sings along to the Little Einsteins theme song.
- her carrying a cricket over to me (while I'm cringing and backing away) saying, "It's nice Mommy, see? Nice!"
- how kind and gentle she is with Ruby.
-every time she nearly wipes out doing a ballerina spin or jumping off of something, she strikes a pose and says "ta-da!"
- her little hands stroking my face while I lay next to her in bed...
...and then I'll remind myself that she doesn't hate me and she knows I love her despite me having to play bad cop all the time. Maybe she got some of her moodiness from me, and will always struggle with how to express them maybe we are destined to bump heads, as mothers and daughters often do (lord help me when she's a teenager.) Maybe one day she'll even tell me she hates me out of anger or frustration and maybe I'll shut myself in my room and cry about it, but one thing I know is that she will learn to admit when she's wrong, see the good in the rules she hates, and apologize when she says somethings she doesn't mean. I can't prevent her from feeling her emotions with every inch of her little heart, but I can help her deal with them and maybe I'll learn something in the process.