Monday, October 12, 2009

a few thoughts

More pictures soon, I promise, but I thought I should post this blog entry from this past Monday that's already getting old.

Today was my "off" day with Roan. I can't help but use those annoying air quotes every time I say that because inevitably I am completely exhausted and on the edge of demoralization by the end of my so-called off days with Roan. How stay at home moms (or dads) do it is utterly beyond my comprehension.

It's not that I don't enjoy spending time with my little girl. I do. She's the best. She cracks me up, melts my heart, and suprises me, sometimes all in the same sentence. Like the other night when I served us penne with homemade spagetti sauce. She doesn't usually like spagetti sauce but it's a darn convenient vehicle for slipping stealth vegetables to her, so I've been trying to get her to come around to it. She looked up at one point and declared, "I like this. I really like this. Thanks guys for making such a good dinner." Thanks guys? Is she 2 or 22? Or the other night when Arwen was drawing her bath. He asked if she needed the water a little warmer. "No, I'm good." You're good? Really? Mastering context and idiom at the ripe old age of 2-1/2. Ok. Or tonight after Jen and Micah stopped by and shared dinner with us. When they were heading out she said nonchalantly, "Nice to see you guys." She apparently has better manners than we do.

I'm not sure what it is. I've spent the past two years trying to put my finger on it. Why, at the end of a day "off" do I feel as fried as an earthworm that's been baking on the sidewalk all day? There's no doubt it's gotten much easier than when she was an infant. The nonstop puking, pooping, peeing, and screaming was a wonder to behold. Thank goodness that's behind us. I don't think it's really dealing with her that makes me frazzled. I mean sure, we have 2-3 temper tantrums each day. No, we can't go to the library until you put on something BESIDES underwear. Or I'm sorry sweetie, I don't know what hot ice is. If I did I would give you some. Or I'm sorry, we can't wear a wet pullup all day. It's not good for your bottom.

But that's all manageable. Formulaic really.
Step 1: Offer two choices, niether of which she's really interested in;
Step 2: When she (predictably) demurs (that's putting it mildly) hold your ground firmly; Step 2, version A: Naughty step. Step 2, Version B: "Quiet time" in her room;
Step 3: Stay strong. This is when you tell yourself (over deafening shrieks to the contrary) that you're doing the right thing, you're not a sadist, boundaries are important, you're not inflicting pointless torture upon an innocent child, wait it out. Wait. It. Out.
Step 4: Reconciliation. This is when she finally agrees to put clothes on or take off that disgusting diaper or do whatever perfectly reasonable thing you requested 20 minutes ago. She also usually makes one humble request: "Snuggles Mama. Need some snuggles," as she buries her snotty nose into your shirt. And you're just so glad (exhausted?) to finally be at this point you don't even bother to ask her or God or whatever omnicient diety you happen to belive it WHY, FOR THE SAKE OF PETE, COULD WE NOT HAVE SHORT-CIRCUITED THIS POINTLESS EXERCISE SOMEHOW?!?!

But that is really no big deal. I mean, I will take a tantrum (or three) over sleepless nights and runny poop any day. Outside of those very small incidents it is so much fun being together, doing things, whether we're just doing crappy made up crafts I'm trying to fool her with around the house, or whether we're going to fancy music classes or specially arranged playgroups. I mean, I think we have so much fun piling washcloths on babies (still her favorite activity, 1.5 years running) sometimes I wish we could just keep on doing that stuff forever.

I think it's all the other stuff that crowds in that's the problem. Whether it's berating myself for not having enough "enrichment" activities (not already working on sight reading? LOSER!) or noticing the tumbleweeds of dusty doghair rolling through my living room (put DOWN the dolly and pick up a BROOM for God's sake!) or wondering when in the past decade was the last time Sasha got walked or feeling a slave to the "to do" list (If we don't get 17 loads of laundry, this week's grocery shopping and a week's worth of pre-cooking done today, then when will we?) I just feel like I am falling down on the job constantly.

But maybe if I can work on silencing my inner critic and feeling good about whatever I do manage to get done, however modest, then maybe at the end of a long day I will feel content. I guess I just need more practice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey there - We've got a few thoughts.
How about giving yourself a little credit.
No one is perfect (except me).
No one can get it all done.
And no one can love and care for Roan the way you do.

Take a deep breath - relax - it will be all be OK.

Enjoy this time when you are Roan's best big girl.

Take some time for you - just you - so you can fill your own tank.

Based on what we've seen, we think you should have "WonderWoman" tattooed on your back.

Love for All -
Gramps and K