It is a cloudy humid sort of day. We've had rain on and off for the past week. At first it was a cold sort of rain. Then suddenly two days ago it turned into humid summer rain. Rather welcome. Baby has her first cold in a long time, asking "mommy, I milky?" literally EVERY time I sit down. And two days ago, fun times, I dropped my giant ass camera on my big toe. Ridiculously, I think its broken, and definitely, I'm going to lose the toenail. So stupid. But for now, the pressure has been relieved (after a visit to the ER) and I am enjoying the cool breeze as I sit on my butt and spend the day writing and reading to the kids.
Right now, I am sitting on my mama chair, crabby milky baby on my lap. And I've tricked the kids into lying still and looking at books by constructing a giant blanket fort around the couch, with separate rooms for each of them. I am hoping little miss falls asleep.
I am pleading with the nap gods that she fall asleep. PLEASE.
She is doing that FOUR thing lately.
She is very good at it.
She wants, SO SO badly to be big like brother, writing her letters, reading a book, playing with Legos, climbing trees, riding bikes.
And she wants SO SO badly to be little like baby, cozying up to mama, talking in baby talk, asking why she cant still have milk too.
Big and little.
Very, very four.
And every day, I take a deep breath as it begins. Mom. I want FOOOOOOOD. One hour later, after abandoning her Cheerios to the chicken scraps bucket. Mom. I AM HUNGRY.
This, all day.
I find myself hugging her brother, THANK YOU FOR BEING SO GROWN UP AND HELPFUL, MY LITTLE BUDDY.
I find myself cozing baby, THANK YOU FOR BEING SO SWEET AND TINY.
I find myself aggravated with her.
And yes, here is the rub of it. I need to cozy HER. Hug HER. Love her through this transition.
But man, mamas, isnt it hard??
Instead I utilize my saccharine sweet voice, that I think of as my stewardess voice (and yes, I know they are called "flight attendents now" HA)..."BUT my DEAR girl, why didnt you EAT your breakfast??"
"Because I wasnt hungry then. I am now."
Oh dear God.
A few days ago though as I was mulling it over it kind of dawned on me that I needed to reaffirm this big girl that is emerging, all long-limbed and gangly, from the baby she was just last summer. So as I was contemplating the gross apples purchased too hurriedly from Walmart I say to her "Hey, want to help me make applesauce?" "YES!" she says back.
I peel apples and one by one she chops every single slice up into small pieces. With a sharp knife, as she told dada proudly later.
Big girl, reaffirmed.
She is also a little sweet mother to baby dear, when she isnt fighting with her, so I give her tasks to reaffirm that role. "Can you pick out some clothes for baby?" I say one morning. "YES" she says. And she does. (Bright pink tutu, of course)
Ah ha moment. Tactic confirmed.
God help us all when she turns 13.
But really, really, this is what parenting is, right? One new thing at a time, building up these tactics to support these little creatures emerging from baby selves into adult selves, one transforming stage at a time.
Patience with newborns, redirecting and channeling toddlers, modeling behavior for young children, reaffirming roles in transition ages, encouraging and loving on the bigger kids. And its amazing really, how much parenting really is about character building IN US. As WE become better people, more loving, caring, less self-centered, more giving?
Hopefully by 13 I will have my shit together enough to take it, HA HA.
Kids are generous like that, huh? Here mom, how about some good old character building exercises, my treat!
Yea, and in any case, the stewardess voice works too, while you figure out what's what. HA HA HA.
And the fort is destroyed. Now they are playing that they are a castle under seige, little man armed to the teeth with bow and arrow and dagger. And now they are fighting each other, I gotta go.
And the breeze blows in. And I am thinking its a second pot of coffee day.