I called my mom yesterday morning on her cell phone. She didn’t answer so I called the house. No answer. So I called ..
My dad – Do you know where Mom is? (He didn’t.)
Mom’s cell again. This time I left a message.
It was too early to call my sister (she lives on the West Coast).
I called my friend Beth. She didn’t answer.
Actually … maybe my sister’s up. So, I call. Twice. Both times went straight to voicemail. (She was indeed sleeping.)
Try Beth again. This time I left a voicemail. Sad. I need to talk.
Called my friend Lisa. No answer.
Finally …Beth calls me.
I just needed to vent to someone who would understand what I was feeling overwhelmed and sad about. My baby is still a baby, no doubt, but she’s a full-blown toddler, too. And, at her 15-month check-up last week the doctor said she’s doing things she should be doing at 18-months. This includes throwing a tantrum and banging her head on things when she doesn’t get her way.
She’s got more energy then ever and it’s so incredibly obvious that her brain is developing faster than her language skills. Every 15 minutes something happens that frustrates her. She can’t reach the basket of toys, she can reach the drawer though, but I take our toothbrushes away from her before she puts them in the toilet, she crawls in the shower, I get her out, she cries, she wants to go down the stairs, up the stairs, down the stairs, she want to be read to, but I’m neck deep in dinner duties, she wants to help, she grabs a knife from the dishwasher, I take it from her, she cries, she spots the grapes on the counter, she wants some, she can’t have any right now, she wants my coffee, I move it higher, she cries, she wants to run in the street, I turn her around, she cries…..
Yesterday was one of the first days quite possibly since last winter that we were home all day. Eleven straight hours (minus her 2-hour nap) is a long time to try and keep a toddler happy without letting her ruin something or kill herself. I almost burst into tears when Corey walked in the door and the house literally looked like it had imploded. (This morning when I was putting my shoes on (which took me less than a minute) she pulled the bottom drawer of Corey’s dresser open and pulled out all his t-shirts and boxers and spread them around the room. She can trash a room in record time.)
Beth said, “I get it”, which is all I needed from her. She has a two-year-old and a one-year-old so it’s true: she gets it. This stage of parenting is tough. And, I’m not naive enough to think it gets easier. I know there will be a new set of problems around the corner. I guess I’m just finally surrendering to the fact that we’re no longer “playing house.” You know what I mean? Charley is no longer my adorable accessory. I mean she is still my adorable accessory, but she’s going to grab all those shirts off that shelf and run as fast as possible through the store dropping one every few feet!
Rabbit trail to the left: How is it that children get more energy with age and sleep less in exchange!?
Beth told me to be gracious with myself and to accept the fact that I’m not going to do everything right.
I know this is right, but it’s hard when you’re a mother. There’s a huge part of me that feels like I fail every time she cries, bangs her head on the wall or tries to bite me.
My mom called me back after I got off the phone with Beth. I said all the same things, but this time through tears. It’s like living with a really cute, belligerent drunk who’s verbally abusive! (Yes, I was feeling exceptionally dramatic.)
I felt better to just get it out. I didn’t want any ideas or opinions or advice. I just wanted someone I could cry to and say, “this is hard.”
On my way home from Crossfit (I can’t imagine not having CF a part of my life right now) I was talking to another friend and I told her that out of all the people I’m connected to, out of all the books I read and blogs I peruse it’s interesting to me that no one ever seems to talk about how hard it is to be a parent. Maybe because it’s such a “duh” thing to talk about or maybe because people don’t want to sound like they’re complaining or maybe because people feel like that’d be griping about their child’s being or maybe because people feel like it’d be admitting defeat in some regards.
Talking about how hard this is doesn’t feel like a “duh” thing to talk about to me. Wow. This is really hard.
If I sound like I’m complaining, I’m not. The wait was long enough to never make me take one day for granted (even if the days are hard).
I adore everything there is to adore about Charley, but she’s not always the easiest person to be around. That is that.
And, lastly, yes I’m admitting defeat in all kinds of regards. Again, this is tough and I know I make mistakes everyday.
But, like my friend Beth said, “The hard is woven in with the really really great and those are the things we have to cling to.”
Isn’t this so true with all of life? (I like friends like Beth.)
p.s. It feels crazy to me to compare this post with this one written only a year before we found out about Charley’s impending arrival. Man, have the times changed.
p.p.s. Anyone remember this hilarious video of the “drunk” baby trashing the bar?