OP’s second (!) birthday is this week, and we’ll be celebrating with grandma and grandpa tonight. I’ve been thinking about the last two years with her. Parenthood is a tricky thing. Before you have the baby you know exactly how you will act as a parent. Discipline won’t be a problem because you read some book by Dr. Hot Right Now. Your child will never act up in public. You will have tons of energy, because of course your child will sleep through the night. I will admit, I’m guilty of some of it. I never read the book, but I had certain beliefs with discipline. I fully expected my kid to act up in public, but I didn’t expect how horrified I would feel. I’m exhausted beyond what I every expected even though my kid does sleep through the night.
I’ve learned a lot about my parent self in the last two years. So to bore you, here’s some highlights.
I’m more patient that I ever imagined
I have never been a patient person. I get annoyed very easily and when I think back to my baby-sitting experience, it’s the one thing I wish I could change. With OP, however, I have patience to spare. (My mom always said it’s different with your kid. Darn her, she was right.)
If I slept only 3 hours last night and now OP is having a temper tantrum because Sesame Street is over and we have to go to day care and she doesn’t want to go to day care in these clothes where are her PJs? She just wants her PJs and Sesame Street and you never let me do what I want to do!!!!!! I get short and irritated with her, but I don’t throw her out the window*, I don’t yell at her, I don’t scream FINE, SIT AROUND IN YOUR PJS FOR ALL I CARE and then stomp off in a fit. Two of the three, I thought I would do. Instead, I pick her up like normal and say, in a somewhat chipper/soothing voice although probably angrier than I think, that I understand that she’s mad but she has to go to day care in clothes blah blah blah. It’s so weird. I don’t know who I am.
Of course, I have less patience for the Husband. Maybe I’m still me, it’s just transferring.
I’m one of those moms
You know those crazy people talking to themselves? I do that, but with OP. I talk to her constantly in the store, and not always quietly. “Oh look, OP, it’s an avocado!” “Can you turn the cart rocket to the right?” It’s a sickness and I can only imagine that it’s obnoxious. People stare at me.
I let discipline fly out the window
I’m old school when it comes to discipline. No, not spanking, but boundaries, consequences, and discipline. Of course, I was raised with “You want me to give you something to cry about” when you tried to work the system with some tears. My parents followed through every time and I turned out okay. More or less.
Someone told me they heard a parent in a store tell their child that they were being “bold” rather than saying they were behaving badly. Bold? Really? You’re being a brat kiddo, knock it off or there will be a price. Bold. Ugh. In the meantime, the kid was still a brat and his mommy was doing absolutely nothing to stop it.
But, when OP is screaming because all she wants to do is paint the house with her poop while balancing on the top of the chair eating her 7th cookie and juggling knives** and why won’t you just LET HER DO IT, and you’re tired, stressed, and really really need to go to the bathroom? Sometimes you cave in, which is bad because consistency is key, but sometimes you just don’t have the wherewithal to deal with it.
I thought it would be easier to say no because it’s how you show your child how much you love them. “No, you can’t play with the chain saw” = I love you. “No, you have to eat a vegetable.” = I love you. “No, you can’t dance naked outside in the snow because you will freeze to death.” = I love you. But then she cries. It takes every ounce of strength to keep saying no and some days, there is just no strength left. I don’t think I’m as patient as I thought
**More hyperbole y’all.
I’m one of those moms (again)
OP gets progress reports at day care. One said that she was still learning shape sorting. Excuse me? Not my baby! She sorts like a genius at home. She is a shape sorting master! Adults come to her to learn the ways of the shape sorter! It was all I could do not to walk over to the teacher and argue about how my precious exceeded that skill and that maybe they need to reevaluate. Yeah, I hate those parents and swore I’d never be one, but that’s my inclination. Fortunately, I don’t act on it. I usually go home, talk it out with the Husband first, and then talk to the offending party if it actually is a big deal outside my brain. I really hope this one goes away before she starts school, or I will end up in a special home.
The mushy one
I love the Husband. He makes me happy and I never thought I could be so happy until I met him. Then we had a little girl–a rambunctious, hilarious, witty, and amazing little girl. I have never been so happy. All the stress and knife juggling and tantrums does not compare to that feeling when she gives a spontaneous hug or runs over to me all excited to go home after day care. Every time she demonstrates something that she learned from us, it boggles my mind that she used to be just a random kick in my belly. I never thought I would be so in love with my little girl.
Happy Birthday, OP!