Sunday, March 15, 2009

I Was "That Mother."

I used to think to myself, "How sad, she doesn't know how to discipline her own child," whenever I'd see a mother in public with an out of control screaming toddler. Today I was cured of ever thinking that again. I became "that mother."

It happened at the mall. My daughter threw her first real temper tantrum, and I had to decide at that moment what I cared about most: what people thought of me, or teaching my daughter an important lesson. We were in the crowded food court, of all places, and she didn't want to go back in her stroller. I had a very good reason for needing her to be in the stroller at that moment. She couldn't have cared less. So began the very loud, high-pitched, red-faced, whiney scream that toddlers are so famous for, big alligator tears streaming down her face, legs kicking and arms flailing.

I remained amazingly calm, squatting down and talking to her in an attempt to reason with her, but to no avail. So I made the decision to simply ignore her and put the obnoxious squealing pig in the stroller anyway. I was sure everyone was staring, mouth dropped open, at the poor mother who couldn't control her child, but I didn't care. She was going to learn right then and there that she can't always have her way. We were close to the Chinese food place when this happened, and the man on the other side of the counter smiled sympathetically and handed me a fortune cookie still in the wrapper, hoping the cookie might calm her down. I knew it wouldn't, but I thanked him anyway and "tried" giving it to her. She responded with a violently shaking head. So I gave the fortune cookie back, saying with a laugh and raising my voice in hopes others would hear me, too, "Sometimes, you just have to ignore them," and began pushing her along in the stroller. In a matter of seconds, she calmed right down.

A round of applause from the crowd of people might have been appropriate at that moment; after all, it was quite the show, starring my daughter, the wild animal. Whether or not she learned anything from that experience remains to be seen. Whether or not I made the right decision at that moment can be debated among all the women out there who have never yet been "that mother."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Things I Love About Her....

A couple of days ago, I wanted to post to my blog, but wasn't able to. So in this post I will talk about what I wanted to talk about then. The things I love about my precious little girl.

Like the after-diaper-change ritual we have, which is usually done on our bed. I'll tell her to stand up, so I can pull her pants or shorts or skirt up, and as soon as I'm finished (and many times before I finish) she will start jumping up and down as high as she can, grinning from ear to ear. I will insist she hold my hands, of course, and sometimes I will even jump up and down with her, even though I'm on the floor and she's on the bed. And I love the way she'll say, "Wuh-hoo!"

Like when she crawls through my legs, which she's been doing more of lately. I'll be standing in the kitchen, for example, doing something at the counter, and she'll get down on her hands and knees and push her head between my legs and crawl through. Sometimes she'll turn around and come back through again. I usually say, "What are you doin', girl?" and laugh at her. I have no idea why she does this, but I think it's just so cute, and I love it.

Like the way she loves her daddy. She is a 100% bonified daddy's girl, no question about it. Whenever he comes home, she rarely just runs over to him right away to hug and kiss him. Instead, she'll look for something to "show" him first, as in, "Look what I've been playing with, daddy" or she'll do some sort of "daddy dance" for him, and once he's been home a few minutes, she'll finally walk up to him and say "Daddy... hugs you," and hold her arms wide open, and once he picks her up she clings to him and her whole face relaxes as a big grin spreads across her face, an expression of relief that says, "Ahhh, all is right with my world now." My eyes are welling up with tears right now as I think about it. It just melts my heart.

Like how she loves for me to read books to her. She'll bring a book to me and throw it up in my lap, saying "Gook!" (her word for "book"). She'll giggle with delight and crawl up in my lap, and as I'm reading to her she'll hold on gently to my arms with her little hands. I love the feel of her hands on my arms. It's like she's saying to me, "Thank you for reading to me, mommy."

Like the way she sings songs with me. She sings the first verse of Amazing Grace really well. She has the most precious little voice when she sings.

Like the way she says, "Ohhhh," with her voice inflection going up high, then back down again when she sees something she likes or discovers something new, like a bug outside she's never seen before. So precious.

I could probably go on forever, but those are a few of the things I love most about her.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Getting Started

I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm starting a blog. Something I've wanted to do for awhile, but have never gotten around to until now.

So here is my first "Memoir of a Mother."

Today I am reminded of how hectic motherhood can be.

I wake up later than usual, which means my daughter will wake up before I even have a chance to make coffee, and I will have no time to myself. I try to think of a way to capture some time to myself anyway, and decide to give her a breakfast bar and her usual sippy cup of milk, then put on her favorite morning video. Maybe I'll even get a chance to check some emails. I go start the coffee and try to start breakfast. She only eats about half of the breakfast bar in no time flat, throws it down, then begins whining for me again. "Huuuuugs yooooou," she cries. My heart melts and I pick her up to hold her. She clings tightly to me, and I go through an hour long battle of trying to distract her so I can make breakfast, but to no avail. Finally, she decides she wants to play, so I get that cup of coffee and make breakfast. Just as I am sitting down in front of the computer to eat and check some emails, she walks over and begins the plea again, so I put her in my lap while trying to hold my plate in one hand. She sees the waffles on my plate and exclaims with a giggle of delight, "Waaw-ful!" So of course, I share about half my waffle with her until she finally decides she's done and gets down to go off to play again.

Later, when I'm leaving the house to run some errands and take her to the park, I feel like I need a third hand as I put the diaper bag over one shoulder and my purse over the other, then grab the two trash bags that need to go outside, and with the other hand take her hand to lead her out the door. As we go down the back steps, cats are draped over them blocking the way, and she politely tells them, "Pees moof!" (Please move.) As we step off the bottom step and I release her to go chase the cats, I suddenly realize that I forgot my keys, so I go chasing after her, trash bags banging together and the diaper bag about to drop off my shoulder. I drop the trash bags onto the ground and guide her close to the back door, then run up the steps and back inside to get the keys off the hook by the door. I come back out and lock the door, and by the time I get to the bottom of the steps again she has already taken off running. I grab the trash bags and call after her, but she ignores me and keeps running further and further away, playing with the cats in the yard.

I unlock the mini-van, throw the diaper bag and my purse on the passenger seat, start to throw the trash bags in there, too, but stop myself before I do, mumbling something to myself about what the heck I am doing. I take the trash bags to one of the trash cans a few feet away, then go to collect my daughter. I lecture her about ignoring me (a work in progress, of course), pick her up, and carry her towards the van. As we pass by the cats' water dish, she leans over so far that she almost falls out of my arms, crying, "Waw waw!" (She wants to make sure the cats have water.) "Don't worry, sweety, they've got enough water for now," I tell her, and then put her in the van and strap her into her car seat. I am surprised by how easy it is this time. Normally she's bending halfway over one side of her seat or the other, begging and whining for one of her books or some other "thing" she wants and won't stop bending over until she gets it. This time she sits still and allows me to buckle her in, then I ask her if she wants her "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" book, to which she responds with a giggle of delight, "Wun Feesh!"

Finally, we leave to go to the park and to run our errands. Whew! All that and it isn't even Noon yet.