Making time for acceptance. Note to self.
This morning I posted on facebook that I wouldn’t survive toddlerhood. Someone suggested wine. My God I would LOVE a glass of wine but at this moment that’s not an option. Also – that helps ME, but I’m interested in how to help us both through this stage. Faith and I.
What does Faith need to get through this time? Ill admit I have no idea. All I can do is put myself in her tiny shoes…wait – she is refusing shoes at present…all I can do is put my self in her hypothetical tiny shoes and try and see the world from her eyes.
I remember reading that if we have ‘attachment parented well’ then our toddlers will be confident, independent, willful. So apparently then I have done a good job. Double-edged sword however reveals its sharp self when those characteristics present in tears and tantrums, defiance and objection.
I try and imagine what it must be like to understand everything but verbalise so little. To be told when to dress and what to wear? Who to play with and what I am doing? To be held down and strapped in not understanding why? To be tired but not recognise it, to be full of spirit and not so full of coordination or skill. How utterly frustrating.
I then have to remember that she and I are so incredible linked. That if I am stressed she feels stressed. That if I push Craig away, she clings to me more for security. That if I am angry she feels uneasy. That if I yell at the dogs, she feels the energy too. Only its all second hand – she isn’t angry, she just feels it. She isn’t pushing Craig away she just senses tension and distance. It must be like being in a relationship and having one partner come in and be ‘weird’ without explaining why. Don’t we always think its us and feel it right in the pit of out stomach?
They are such sensitive beings who feel the whole world revolves around them – they have no concept that we have our own issues. Hell most of us as adults still think its all about us. They don’t understand financial pressure, workload, family politics. They just think it’s about them.
Imagine the weight of that.
I need to remember, I am at home with her. I am home with her so that I can be here for her. So that I can make time – space – for accepting these stages. I haven’t asked someone else to care for her because I believe I am the best person for the job so ‘be’ the best person for the job.
It is so easy to stand and roll my eyes as she throws herself on the floor in tears. Its much harder to breathe, kneel to her and envelope her in loving arms as she cries over ‘nothing’.
When my patience runs out I watch myself as I react instead of respond. I swear and play out my parents roles. I forget the sign I put on my fridge months ago…”How did I want my parents to be when I was growing up?”
It is so easy for me to grab her and hold in her car seat so we can leave. It is much harder to just sit and wait and wait and ask, and play and coax and lead and wait and wait.
It is so easy for me to force her clothes on. It’s much harder for me to wait until she wants to put it on herself. It’s harder to watch her put it on inside out and back to front and not jump in and ‘help’. Its even harder to accept that today might be a home day. A nude home day.
Its easy for me to pick her up and storm off. Its harder to sit with her, mid shopping centre while people look on and hold her lovingly as she hits and cries.
Breathe I tell myself, breathe.
So she is nude. Its summer.
So she is barefoot. She can handle the stones.
So she wears no knickers. She is toilet trained.
So we stay home. We can clean and garden together.
So we miss playgroup. We have so many toys here.
So she threw her plate of food on the floor. We have dogs.
So she wants to be held. I have wraps.
So she screams. She isn’t suppressing.
So she cries. I will hold her.
So she is a toddler. I will love her.
This time will pass so quickly that I will look back and wonder where the days went. What was important during this time? The outing or the unconditional love and space I allowed Faith as she discovered who she is in this new independent time of her life.
There will be tantrums. Acceptance.
There will be tears. Acceptance.
There will be appointments missed, dates not kept and hours spent negotiating, dressing and waiting. ACCEPTANCE.
These things I know. What I need to know now, is the best way to be for her, during them.
I feel that the answer is space and love. Give her the space to let the tears out, the frustration build up, the stress of a busy day. Give her the space to let the tears flow and feel that calm peace after a good cry in the arms of a loved one. Its ok to cry and release and the emotional benefits of doing so enveloped in love are tremendous and scientifically proven.
I know not everyone can afford this time, I know mothers work, have school pick ups, have new babies. But this is a note to self.
I have the time. I have the space. I am not at work, I am not at uni full time, I do not have other children. How would I want my parents to react to me if I was feeling frustrated, confused, emotional and tired?
I would want space and love. Space to feel it and let it out. Space to integrate and release. Love to embrace me while I did.
Be that person. Be that mother.
My darling girl, I am trying so hard xxx
(…reach for another piece of white chocolate…sighhhh)
*** I will also teach Faith to be gentle on herself, to be forgiving and patient with herself, to accept herself, to love herself. That we are all learning, that we make mistakes and sometimes have to start over. I figure the best way to do this, is to be gentle on MYSELF. To be forgiving and patient and understanding of myself, to accept but not blame my past influences, to embrace my road to learning, my mistakes. And so I am. ***