Before John & I had Faith, I was that person who would see kids out with their parents at Wal-Mart, screaming, throwing tantrums, grabbing items off the shelf & throwing them in the buggy, & think to myself, “My kid will never act like that!”
I was that person who sat in a church service, or a meeting, or a theatre, listening to that newborn baby crying and disrupting whatever it is going on, and think, “I will never attempt to sit through this with a BABY!”
Well, once I had a baby, I did all those things I said I’d never do, & my child did all those things I said she’d never do.
I was nieve. I had preconceived ideas about how I’d parent & discipline my child. I also had preconceived ideas about how my child would respond to my parenting.
I have since learned, it is foolish for me to create these preconceived notions when I have absolutely no experience whatsoever about something. So now I try to just keep my mouth shut 🙂
When Faith was an infant, I truly believed those times were the hardest, that it would get easier as she got older. Lesson learned there. Sleep deprivation, countless numbers of diaper & outfit changes, all the struggles of learning to nurse a baby are now replaced with temper tantrums, attitude, and a 2 year old trying to exert her small amount of independence & learn boundaries to her strong will.
I have also realized, it kinda stinks being the firstborn, because once the second comes around, mom & dad are a little more experienced with that one! With the first, we have to just figure it out as we go. And the problem with parenting I have realized, is that you never know if you totally got it wrong until your child is grown!
The older Faith gets, the more I realize how intentional John & I have to be about making sure each child gets individual time with both of us. Although our free time is few & far between, we try to occasionally block out an hour, or a couple hours, whatever, so that I get one girl & daddy gets the other.
Last Saturday, I decided (along with nana!) to take Faith to a “Mommy & Me” yoga class. She knows some yoga moves, and loves to dance, so I figured, hey, free class, good opportunity for Faith to get a little undivided time with mommy. We picked up nana, grabbed the yoga mats, and off we went.
At first, I thought it would be successful. Faith LOVED the yoga mats, she picked out hers, and we were good…
Then she discovered a new skill–yoga mat jumping. This worked for entertainment until the class was ready to start…
Once she realized this was actually a structured class, not just yoga mat jumping, things went downhill. Of course, there would be no other 2 yr olds in the class on the day we were there, so my child was the only one making a fuss. We made several trips out to the lobby to discuss appropriate behavior, bribe with a promise of a trip to ride the merry-go-round (Faith’s newest favorite thing!), whatever I could do to try to entice her to go back in there and actually DO yoga. Not jump the mats.
It didn’t work.
In classic 2 yr old fashion, she refused, but decided to stand at the glass door and watch. Whatever works. That lasted a few minutes. Nana came to hang out in the lobby, and we had some fun times hanging out just the three of us on a giant couch in the yoga lobby. Eventually, I totally scratched the idea that we’d participate in mommy & me yoga, so we loaded back up and hit the merry-go-round. Three times 🙂
Parenting gets harder at harder. I am not sure at what point it begins to get easier and easier. Maybe it doesn’t. I remind myself often of the best words of wisdom I’ve ever heard from a very wise mom, “The days are long, but the years are short.”
One day, my house will be quiet again. And clutter-free. There will be no more tucking kids into bed for the upteenth time, no more spilled sippy cups of milk on my clean floors. No more endless loads of baby girl laundry. Gone will be the days of excited trips to the grocery store just to pick up milk…and suckers.
But I will still be here, and I know I will miss these times. So as I count to 3 one more time to give a warning, clean up the milk, do the girls’ laundry (again!), and put crying babies to bed because they want to stay up later & “…play just a little longer,” I try to appreciate & be thankful for this day.
No matter how long it feels at the time 😉