Monday, May 25, 2009
Thoughts from the trenches...
My dear friend, Tara, came to visit us this past weekend from AZ. That sounds like a pretty normal thing until you realize that this brave woman drove 6 hours each way with a 2 year old and a 7 month old by herself. Now that is a good friend! Her husband was out of town, as was mine, so together we spent the weekend corraling our collective 4 kids, who are all age two and under. It was absolute chaos for sure, but we had so much fun, too. We took them to the beach, Kidspace, a couple of parks, and out for ice cream (twice! Hey, when the cats are away, the mice will play!) It was so great to see them and to be able to celebrate and commiserate with Tara about the challenges with our current stage in life. We are definitely in the trenches of motherhood, folks. As I was reflecting on this, I thought I would share a few of my current realizations:
1. There is a point of no return with sour milk in sippy cups. Once they have been sitting for over 24 hours, you may as well wait until 48 hours when they milk actually solidifies and then slides out the cup easily. No need to battle that nasty in between stage.
2. Toddlers have an innate sense for great fashion. We are in the stage where B must dress herself. And she comes up with some pretty cutting edge fashions. See her at our recent Trader Joe's trip. Luckily, this is LA and anything goes.
3. Never say never. As a parent I do plenty of things I never thought I would. Like take my child into a store in just a diaper and a shirt because I forgot to bring a change of pants, or pretend that I am leaving without my child so they will actually listen and come with me. I also never thought I would leave the house looking like I do sometimes. I easily wore more make-up during a couple of months in 7th grade than I have in the last couple of years.
4. Along the lines with never say never, it is amazing all of the surprises around the corner in toddlerhood. For example, when I turned around and saw B's hands covered with raw egg while we were at the grocery store or when Tara had to pull play dough our of her daughter's nose. All in a day's work.
5. I have a newfound appreciation for simple things like ice cream (okay, I guess I always appreciated that), rolling down hills, laying in warm sand, and really high swings to name a few. The belly laughs that these things bring out in B and T give me so very much joy!
6. I am developing a higher tolerance for hearing everything in the from of a yell. T is what we describe as a very "happy loud." He can't really seem to help it. He also gets "mad loud," too. His sister is more quiet typically, but she can throw a loud tantrum with the best of them.
7. The best parenting tip I have gotten for toddlers is to give them closed choices. Do you want this shirt or that one? Do you want me to put in a bow or a clip? Don't get me wrong, this only works so often, but this can squelch some of our battles. The others are unavoidable for an average mom like me, I have decided.
8. I have no idea how single moms do it. In the 7 days that J has been gone, I have thought I was going to lose my mind many times, like when T keeps stealing toys from B, or when they won't stop fighting, or or when they climb away from me in the car instead of getting out quickly while I wrestle the other sibling. The days of toddlerhood can be quite long. Especially when your shift never ends.
9. It is really funny to see yourself in your kids. B always needs an agenda (just like me) and will always ask, "What are we going to do today, mom? What are we going to do next? Then what?" She even told me the other day that, "my baby talks constantly!" Similarly, her doll is picking up her habits. :) T has started saying, "That was so fun!" When we leave anywhere, which I realized I always do. I also get to hear them discipline their dolls,"You need to hold hands when we're by cars!!" So, they must internalizing something!
10. I never knew that I could love and adore anyone as much as I do these two kids. I just kept thinking it as I sat across the table from them at Chipotle last night while we ate our dinner, and talked about our day (this was before T insisted on taking the lid off of his cup and spilling it and B ripped her tortilla into 800 pieces). They are the sweetest little people in the world, and now they aren't just my kids but are also my amazing little companions. How can I thank God for blessing me with them?