Monday, October 7, 2013

Keeping it Simple: Take 2

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A few weeks ago I holed myself up in my studio with the determination to just write. Not to spend hours wading through the abyss that always engulfs me when I start surfing the net, just me and the letters on my keyboard. In the 2 hours I was granted away from my motherly and wifely duties, I had a epiphany in which I realized how much I have always loved to write and how little justice I was doing this forgotten past-time lately. You would think to start up a blog, writing is part of the package, and it totally is. However, my goal when starting The Patchwork Paisley was to share my art, DIYs, and decor. There is a lot of words that go along with the pretty pics, but it's mostly tutorial and nothing too expressive.



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.





23 comments:

  1. it's a long, sweet, sometimes infuriating but very sweet road ahead. I'm only 2mos into age five and it keeps going my friend! You're doing a great job in raising a sweet little girl!

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    1. Thank you!! I know this is only the beginning, but it helps to remember I'm not the only one who has been there.

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  2. I feel like I could have written this about my 10 month old! I sometimes fear what the future holds for us!! And yes, I agree, the end of the world is starting in NJ!

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    1. I'm so glad you could relate. I always like to think that I'll have it easy when she's a teen because I deal with that age group all the time (I teach middle school) but I think its probably a whole different can of worms when it's your own.

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  3. Ahhhh little girls are hard, right?? I felt and connected with every word you wrote.

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    1. Heck yeah they are, but I always wanted 2 girls and now I got em come hell or high water ;)

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  4. She is just adorable with that butterfly painted on her face! I'm on the road to where you are now. My daughter just turned 2 and, wow, she is really starting to test me. She wants to do everything herself and screams when she doesn't get her way. Lately she has been hitting just to get our attention. What happened to my sweet little girl??? I know it's going to get worse before it gets better. Oh well...at least there's wine!

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    1. LOL! That's the truth. A BIG glass of wine after bed time is a really fabulous way to relax and regain a little sanity. My parents always made it out like I was the best kid and never gave them any issues, but they must have selective amnesia because I think this is just a phase that happens! Damn phases...

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  5. Aren't Girlies the best? Sometimes I feel mine take the lessons on how to find, work and wear out Momma's last nerve...simultaneously! Then you get those moments when they hug you, kiss you, giggle or hug each other and you totally melt. Don't we just LOVE our Girlies? xoxoxo

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    1. Love them so much. All those moments seem to make it all worth it!

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  6. She's three? My Lola is three and a half (I refuse to drop the "and a half" because it will mean she is closer to four and on her way out of babyhood and I won't have it!). A couple month ago it was like living with a little person who said the opposite of everything I wanted. A person who disagreed with everything I said. I heard no all day long. It was infuriating!

    Now, that phase has passed for the time being. It comes and goes in waves but it does get better. Sort of. Or we just get better of channeling energy and dealing with it. One or the other. Point is I understand. Hugs, Mama.

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    1. Well, its encouraging to know that it will be over in a few months then. Vi just turned 3 in September, so hopefully when she gets closer to 4 she'll cut the crap. Doubtful though. There will just be new crap to deal with, but that's the nature of parenthood, huh?

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  7. sooooo many of my friends here lately have been saying that it's definitely the terrible threes... whew! thank goodness i have another year. and i love your realization "I'm scared of my kid." hahaha.

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  8. Oh my goodness am I EXACTLY where you are right now! I just had my daughter a month ago, and my 3 year old son has been a roller coaster of ups and downs! One minute he loves me and the next he is in the floor kicking and screaming because I won't give him yogurt before dinner. My hormones are all over the place, and between a screaming infant and a screaming 3 year old, some days screaming into a pillow and a good cry is all that can keep me from going nuts. Hang in there girl, you are not alone!

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    1. Yeah we have the exact same thing going on! I knew it would be a challenge with a newborn thrown in to the mix, but I guess I was prepared for her reaction to show itself in a different way. Still, she is good to her sister, so that makes me happy. It is hard to get our own emotions in check though, especially after just having a baby! I know it will get better though. Hang in there!

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  9. My kids are three years apart, so I was where you are about a four years ago. They do get better (and as I've seen with my older one, then they get worse, and then they get better, and then...). There are different challenges at every age, and just when I think I've mastered one, it resolves itself and another pops up! You are a great mama, keep on doing what you're doing! :)

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    1. Thanks Beth, The never-ending roller coaster of parenthood!

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  10. I'm loving all sides of Meg! This is a great post, and as mothers {Mommy Monday Crew} I think we can all say we've been there or will be there.
    It does feel like a knife in the back at times when your child wants nothing to do with you, and remembering eh, they're three seems far distant at that moment.
    Sadly, the bathroom becomes your safe zone to cry because your feelings are hurt... yet you reemerge tearless and three-year-old kisses you and asks for Chutes and Ladders.
    I know I told you this already but three is a roller coaster-- you're going to have your downs but SOOOO many ups :)
    I'm here for you Mama!! P.S. I love that you're taking the time to remember the positives!
    XOXO

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    1. A roller coaster for sure! It is definitely hard with the first to get used to all the phases, especially since you don't see them coming and right when you're about to get a handle on it- on to the next. Hopefully I will have it under control for Ruby!

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  11. Loved it! You had me smiling, laughing, and tearing up all in one moment. LOL My liitle girl is only 8 months, but very independent. I react the same way when she pulls away or wants to do things without Mommies help, but I know that it's just part of her growing up. I found a pack of infant diapers that I had not used the other day and burst into tears. It's like I went to sleep with a new born and woke up with a toddler! The time just flies by toooo fast!

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    1. I'm so glad that you connected with what I wrote- that's so important to me. Time really does fly by. I'm cherishing it even more with my little one (2mos) because I know (barring a huge "oops") this will be the last time we're in baby land!

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  12. This is the perspective that I take (or try to take) with my boys. Mine are 3 and 1 1/2 and I'm surrounded! I try to remind myself that there is more good than bad. In a typical day there is at most 3 incidents that will last a total of 5 minutes, that's 15 minutes out of 12 hours, where I just don't recognize my child. That is not enough time to ruin or taint an entire day. I love that you have sweet memories listed to reflect back on and center your feelings. Such a great idea. Thank you for sharing, we're all in the same boat...it's just how we choose to float :)

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