a self realization of my parenting

Today was rather relaxing by comparison. There is no doubt that a toddler is exhausting. Never mind all the running around you do just to keep them busy, but their energy level is so up there all the time. It’s exhausting just trying to keep up with them. Today, not so much, though. Today was a day of a lot of TV, which I always feel guilty about. For some reason I have this ongoing guilt trip that TV is bad for her and I shouldn’t be letting her watch it, yet I see that she’s learning from her favorite shows. Her speech is picking up at lightening speed and she’s relating to the characters by learning their names and pointing out her favorites. She knows what an airport is, thanks to Bubble Guppies, though I have to say that that show is really starting to wear on me, finally.

I had a very early morning because Hannah woke up crying at 6:30, probably from a bad dream. Poor thing 😦 So I went into her room and comforted her by rubbing her back and tucking her back into her quilt to make her feel cozy and safe. It was one of those mama moments that made me feel like I was exactly what she needed. One day, when she knows how door knobs work, she’ll be crawling into bed with Nate and me. I look forward to those moments, provided she actually goes back to sleep and doesn’t try to pick my nose or something. The way I see it right now, Hannah is the type of kid who is up when she’s up, but who knows. Maybe that will change when she gets older and her sleep patterns change.

Once she settled back down I went back to bed, but didn’t want to risk falling back asleep and waking up much later, thus not getting any quiet coffee time. It’s one of my favorite times of the day when the apartment is cool and fresh from the morning air coming through our wide open windows and I can drink my coffee in peace and quiet. Hannah is very good about playing in her room quietly once she’s up. I usually wait for her to knock on her door to let me know she’s ready to come out. Sometimes she’s quiet until 10, sometimes it’s as early as 7:30 or 8. Today I got in a good two hours or so of free time and it was wonderful.

Even later in the morning we were both pretty mellow. I was happy to turn on the TV for her and just veg on the couch. I started falling asleep, but I don’t like to do that because I really do not appreciate being startled awake by little fingers prodding my face. Instead I finished another book in the Sailor Moon manga series I’m reading right now, and just the fact that I was able to read almost the entire book without being disturbed was amazing.

It was only just after noon when I decided to get out of the house. We went to Starbucks, and just as we got to the park she fell asleep on me! Well, rejoice some more why don’t I?? I was smart enough to bring my Kindle with me today. So I got in another hour or so of reading, with my tea no less. It wasn’t until later that I started to get a little flustered when I really wanted to get home after spending a couple of hours at my father in law’s place. I was hot and oh so sweaty and really did not want to wait for her to inspect every rock on the sidewalk.

Sometimes I feel like such an impatient meanie when I pick her up and put her back in the stroller whether she likes it or not. I want her to walk as much as possible to get the exercise and burn the energy, and yet more often than not I have a really, really hard time slowing myself down to her pace. It’s something that I must work at, and I am trying. Very hard.

I’m even trying to figure out what kind of factors trigger more frustration than others. Is it low blood sugar? Is it hormones? Is it just straight up discomfort? Is it impatience? Perhaps it’s all of the above. Some days are better than others. Not having a stroller helps a lot, I’ve noticed. When I have the stroller I feel like I need to walk with purpose and get from point A to point B. When I have the carrier it’s easier to meander. It’s easier for me to slow down. It’s also easier for me corral her. Nothing causes more panic and feelings of being overwhelmed when we’re trying to cross a street and she wants to wander so I’m holding onto her and I’m steering a giant stroller with only one hand. With the carrier I can run with her. I feel more carefree.

However, at some point, no matter what is going on with me she does stop listening because she gets tired or she forgets that she can’t do anything she wants, or that not everything is a game. That’s when I get the most frustrated. I don’t know why I continue to let her get to me. She’s just a two year old, for pete’s sake. I don’t know why I don’t call it as soon as she starts showing signs of rebelliousness. I keep giving her chances as if she has the mental capability to understand where I’m coming from, as if I can reason with her. This where I suck with toddlers and often feel so lost with my own. At the end of the day it’s not her that’s making me frustrated, it’s myself and the way I let her get away with things. I’m shooting myself in the foot with my own parenting, so to speak.

And this is when I really like blogging because I just had an epiphany. Parenting tactics aside, patience is something I lack, as is a lack of understanding of the age group I’m dealing with. I’m starting to explain things to her more, but I’m not sure if it’s futile or not. She’s starting to respond to my explainations with “Okay” as if she’s hearing what I’m saying, but I don’t know if it’s hitting home or not. I don’t know if it has any impact.

Parenting is hard. And whether you have other mom friends or not it’s a lonely road because every child is different. I love my Magoo to pieces and I kiss her many times every day and laugh at her silliness and hold her tight when she needs me to and when I need to. But…two years old is a tough age and I’ve been warned that three isn’t so great either. It’s so important to keep your attitude in check when you have a little one, both in the snarky sense and in the mental state of mind sense. I know all the craziness is on me and me alone. Hannah’s not doing a single thing other than being her usual awesome two year old self and all the quirks and nuances that go with it. See, at least for me, parenting isn’t hard because the child is difficult. In fact, Hannah is a pretty good kid. It’s hard because I’m getting in my own way.

Here’s one of my favorite songs that keeps me sane…

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