I think sometimes people (myself included) forget that even though you might have an “easy” (or a “happy” or “good-natured”) child, that same child is still entitled to her fair share of hard moments, toddler meltdowns, and general whiny-ness.
And that those moments are okay. They are normal. They are part of growing up.
As part of my pre-bedtime reading, I’ve been slowly making my way through Simplicity Parenting, a nonfiction self-help of sorts that deals with harnessing the power of simplification to raise happier, calmer kids. Although I have some significant issues with the book (which I’ll discuss at some future point when I do a more formal book review of it), I came across this one part in my reading last night that struck me with particular force:
“As parents we must not become ‘harmony addicted.’ It’s tempting to hope that every day might be a sort of ‘rainbow experience’ for our children. Wouldn’t that be nice? If only we could suspend them in a sort of happiness bubble. But they need conflict.” (26)
Finally, when I’d about reached yelling point (which is HARD to get me to do, thanks to years and years of practice with dealing with 7th graders), I just picked her up and held her in my arms like I did when she was a baby.
This being a position that she normally hates (because she’s not in control as much of what she can see and how she can move), she struggled. But I picked up her blanket and held tight and sat down in the glider and just held her until she calmed down.
And we rocked and rocked and rocked for probably half an hour straight, in near total silence.
I wish I could say it was all magical and perfectly harmonious after that, but it wasn’t. She still started to whine and cry when I shifted positions so that she was sitting up, and she still cried when I put her back down on the floor to go play. (I successfully distracted her with the lure of the Christmas tree for about ten minutes, which is when I got all these pictures, but it was not to last.)
And so she followed me around, whining all the while, and then because I was exhausted (and she’d been acting exhausted all day), I finally gave in to the siren call to veg and we turned out the lights and put on Tangled and just cuddled and watched the entire movie from start to finish until Matt came home (at which point, she was, of course, all smiles).
It’s a good reminder for me, too—that it’s okay for ME not to feel harmonious all the time, or totally in control of this motherhood thing (or this being-an-adult thing), or overwhelmed by everything going on in the world right now.
Yesterday was a little rough, no doubt about it.
But it also had those moments of absolute loveliness that I don’t want to forget about, that made it possible to get through it all without flying off the handle or losing my cool.
So I guess that’s how I’ve learned to work through my own negative emotions—
Take a break from the hustle, acknowledge that it’s hard, try and shift gears, and look for the good.
It doesn’t mean that all my days are going to be perfect or “harmonious,” but it was actually kind of a relief last night to realize that those kinds of days are NEEDED and NORMAL and opportunities to grow.
(And I have a feeling I’m going to need to remind myself of this again and again, like right this very second, as Raven fights and fights every last nap with everything her little body’s got…)
What insights has life given you lately?