Sock Wisdom

21 months–that is when my daughter started her “terrific twos” meltdowns.  Our sweet, good-natured daughter with the angelic smile now has moments, minutes, even halves of an hour of pure loss of control.  They do not happen often but enough to leave my husband, Scott, and I shaking our heads in dismay.  Our daughter will cry, lie down, push away any consolation.  It is heartbreaking, troubling, and absolutely exhausting.

A little secret that I must confess–I have no clue what I am doing some days.  Oh yes, I have read some articles; I’ve studied child development in school.  I have got the knowledge and instincts of a teacher.  But my kids–probably like all children–are not textbook kids.  Distract her from a meltdown?  No way.  Firmly restate directions or choices to a screaming son?  Not having it.  Count 1-2-3?  Heck no!

During a recent meltdown, I found myself lying next to my daughter on her bedroom floor. I had let her be alone for a few minutes, but she was so upset, I needed to put myself near her.  I had to let her know I was nearby and ready to give her any support she needed.

While resting there, trying to find a comfortable way to wait patiently on a hard floor, I looked down at my socks.  “I am a great mom.”  At least that’s what my socks were telling me.  They were a fun gift from my sister on my 40th birthday (from www.notestoself.com).  At that moment, I tried to use those words as a mantra of some sort.

I am a great mom

“I am a great mom.”  Yes, I must believe it.  No, I will not kid myself to think that means I know what I am doing.  I am even willing to admit that I have already made a ton of mistakes and will surely make many more.  I will keep trying, however.  I will seek answers.  I will read fellow blogs or articles, talk to my husband, friends, and family, and definitely pray a lot. Basically, I will just do the best I can.

When in doubt, I will go back to my old standby–love (this is what my parents used too). Scott and I will love our children through the meltdowns, love them through the growing pains, love them through the sleepless nights and the noisy car rides, and (may God help us) love them through the teenage years.  Oh, there are many easy times in parenting too–the giggles, the hugs, the happy routines.  That’s the good thing about love–it is there through it all.  In the meantime, I think I’d better get Scott his own pair of socks.  This is quite a journey we are on!

 

Mommy’s Note: In case my daughter reads this years from now, I want her to know she really is a happy, sweet girl.  She just likes to save up for some big meltdowns to remind us that she’s human.  We love you!

 

The Sounds of Infancy

My daughter noisily entered the world last fallDaughter 1.  From day one, she made herself known vocally.  The sounds of A’s first few days and weeks were distinctly different from the sounds her brother made when he was young. She used a high-pitched scream to alert us of any frustrations.  Her cry when tired or when waking every two hours for a nighttime feeding shifted between the call of a bleating goat and the mew of a kitten.  Hearing her cry, we would quickly pick her up.  “It’s alright, baby.  You’re okay.  Mommy and Daddy love you.”

Over time, A has grown and so have her sounds.  Oh, I cannot describe the joys of hearing her happy “ma ma mas” and “da da das,” even if she doesn’t mean “Mommy” and “Daddy” yet.  “Yes, Ma Ma, that’s ME!” I affirm.  She also has developed a concentrated, throaty sound that friends have helped identify as similar to the hum of a locust.  She uses that sound when sitting around and studying things, much like a singer might unknowingly hum a melody under her breath.

Now in her tenth month, A is “talking” all the time–happy squeals, repeated vocalizations, the ups and downs of mimicked speech.  She has a lot to say!  Indulging in new tastes and flavors every day, she lets out a delighted “nam nam nam” while chewing.  Of course, nothing can match those belly giggles she’ll produce when watching her silly big brother or getting tickles from Daddy.

A still wakes up in the middle of the night several times a week with a cry that melts this mommy’s heart.  I go to her crib and gently pick her up. “It’s alright, baby.  You’re okay. Mommy and Daddy love you.”  As she sighs a contented reply into my shoulder, I realize there are too many of these sounds that I want to hold forever in my ears.

When I’m Bigger

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I don’t know if this is rare in children, or if it will change in a couple of years, but my son, who is almost 4, is in no hurry to grow up.  And I love it.  For a while this year, whenever someone called him a “big boy,” E would stomp his foot and be quite adamant.  “I’m not a big boy.  I’m a little boy!” he would shout.

Now that he has finally resigned himself to potty training and the world of Toy Story and Cars underwear this summer, E is not as upset about being called a big boy, but he’s still very clear about the levels of big boyhood.  He repeatedly asks for assurances from my husband and me that he will watch Spiderman when he’s older.  Other than that interest, however, he is perfectly happy being his age–being a little big boy.  He likes his freedoms. He accepts his limitations.  He enjoys being a helper.  He loves just being.  E is a model for living in the moment.

Over the past month or two, E has even turned being young into an excellent excuse for putting off all that causes discomfort or fear.  When faced with eating an undesired food, going potty in a public restroom, or doing anything too noisy or frightening, he calmly states, “I’ll do that when I’m bigger.” No regret. No self-judgement. E is perfectly comfortable with where he’s at in life.

While certainly as a mother, I want E to explore new things and gain confidence as he ventures into this world, I also am comforted by the fact that he is clinging so greatly to his early childhood.  I know already how quickly these years are slipping by us.  So many times, I’ve teasingly admonished E and his sister for growing too fast.  I’m grateful E is willing to stay my little boy for at least a little longer.

Of course, I still have the typical motherly worries of how E will do in school, whether he’ll have friends, and if he’ll be nice to others and make good decisions. Instead of dwelling on those concerns, I need to follow E’s lead and live in the moment too.  I need to look at bugs with him, blow bubbles, listen to his stories, and take every single request for a snuggle.  When my son is so deeply entrenched in living the good life on his (almost) four year old terms, I might as well join him!  Those other worries?  I can face them when I’m bigger.