Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas. Hope you all had a lovely day.
My first Mother’s Day set me up with great expectations. I was five months pregnant and didn’t expect to be celebrated, as I certainly did not feel like a mother yet. But my husband, mom, and sister felt differently and showered me with cards and gifts. M and I then departed on our baby-moon where I spent the beautiful day relaxing in Half Moon Bay. In between a long lunch and an afternoon pre-natal massage, I watched little girls in sweet little dresses and white Mary janes and little boys in charming little khakis and suit coats chase each other around the well-manicured grounds of the hotel. I watched the relaxed-looking mothers reuniting with their families for dinner following an afternoon at the spa. It was all so idyllic and gave me a sense of calm that I hadn’t had so far in my pregnancy. I let go of the fear that I had been holding onto and began to think up long lists of things that I could not wait to do with my little one.
This year, Mother’s Day was anything but idyllic. I spent much of the day in bed, though not munching on a yummy breakfast delivered to me on a tray with flowers. Instead, I was popping Ibuprofen as if it were candy to numb the pain caused by my mystery throat infection. To top if off, Baby has entered into an intense Daddy-phase that involves screaming like a banshee when left alone in a room with me. Is she mad at me for traveling last week? Does she have some sixth sense telling her that I am sick and her best bet for staying healthy is to keep her distance? Am I being too tough with the discipline? Is she seeking out Daddy for mercy? Should I ease off on the discipline?
Will I ever stop questioning myself as a parent?
Seriously, will I?
Or is the ability to constantly question ourselves one of the blessings of parenthood? In so many situations in life, we get just one chance. But with parenting, we get so many opportunities to improve. For example, if I don’t handle a morning tantrum well, I am guaranteed to get another try in the afternoon. But I won’t get any better at tantrum-management, or prevention, if I don’t question what went wrong and consider what I can do better the next time. Reflection is key to parenting.
So I will continue trying to figure out why Baby is down on Mommy these days. And I will strive to make tomorrow better than today.
And, in the meantime, I will reflect on what I love about this baby phase:
1. Look what I did!
Although I feel like she has been in my life forever, sometimes small moments remind me that Baby is still new to this world. So much still amazes her and so much of what she does gives her a sense of pride . Last week she was helping me make dinner and I let her turn the dial to turn on the food processor. Then I asked her to turn it off. After a couple of tries, she successfully turned it off. Then she turned to me with big eyes and an even bigger smile. Someday that sense of amazement will fade. But right now, I love seeing the world through her awe-struck eyes.
2. More words – and words combined together!
Nothing warms my heart more than to hear Baby exclaim ‘Hi Mommy!’ as I walk in the door. I will never forget the day she finally put those two words together. And the mini-sentences keep coming. There is ‘mommy, sit!’ when she wants me to sit with her and ‘I see you’ at any random moment. And while I worked on this week’s grocery lit, she responded to my question about what else we need with ‘apples, bananas.’ Every word makes me smile.
3. The simples, silliest things bring her joy
Like most kids, Baby hates when the time comes to get out of the bath. The only thing she hates more than getting out of the bath, is sat ding still while I dry her off. So, I tell her that if she gets out of the bath and let’s me dry her off, I will let her run down the hallway, to her room, completely naked. Diaper-free and all. And so she gets out of the tub and lets me dry her off. And I take a deep breath, pray for an empty bladder. And she runs, and giggles hysterically. And you’d think that this would be the best moment of her day. But it’s not. Because she has so many best moments. And I get to share them with her.
Life with a 19 month old can be trying. But it can also be magical.