I thought it a phase. Then I realized I was the problem.
Topic : Daily Glimpses
Clarabelle just turned two.
And it was a magical and glorious party which I will do a post on once I get pictures.
I hired a photographer which I HIGHLY recommend so you can actually enjoy the party instead of being stuck behind your phone trying to capture the moments you are accidently missing because you want to document such an occasion.
Just a suggestion but for me, it’s worth the 150.00 or so.
I have been thinking on writing this post for awhile now.
And not just because there’s the phrase “terrible two’s” and my child happens to have just turned two.
I have found myself realizing that days I feel my child is being “difficult” are days when I, in fact, am the one being the difficult one.
Or really…kind of an ass.
If you know me (and are my facebook friend or simply, my friend) you know my child is a well documented child…
Which on one hand is great, I get to capture our lives together.
And on the other hand it leaves me being that person behind the camera….prompting my child to “look at mama” when she would clearly be happier actually doing the playing she was already doing…
So I start to get this look…
And I it has started to occur to me more and more, that I am the one causing her to glare.
Because I am being annoying.
Because I am pushing her to do something I want.
Because I am not being present.
There has also been the increase in expressive words, yelling, flinging onto the floor and sometimes running through the house yelling, “NOOOOOOOOO”.
I used to think those things were not my fault, unlike the annoying pictures.
Then it occurred to me that many of these “outbursts” or “difficult” days were because of my lack of presence.
I was being with Clarabelle but I wasn’t being WITH her.
Physically we are in the same space but attention-wise, I get so distracted.
I check my facebook.
I answer phone calls.
I make appointments.
I fold the laundry (which I do make a group activity but let’s be honest, some days she would much rather be pulling books out of the book shelves).
I have places for us to go.
The flurry of movements to get us out the door.
I stay at home with my child, which means we are together a lot of the time, which I love tremendously.
This also means I have the tendency to take that time for granted or use that time in a way that is frustrating for my child.
Instead of listening to what she wants to play with, I’m on the phone.
Instead of working the puzzle with her, I’m checking facebook.
Instead of sitting and playing, I am shuffling her off to get dressed (when she could happily stay in her pajamas, cause we aren’t going anywhere).
I ask her “if she wants to go downstairs to play” and then have have 3 tasks to complete before we ever manage to get downstairs.
What I see is the amount of frustration or throwing of items increases during the times when I am not present and really giving her my full attention.
Does that make me a bad parent?
Does that mean I can shift the way I do things?
I have realized that I can take the 3 minutes to read her a book and REALLY sit there and read with her before I do another task.
I can have her help at the grocery store with her own cart…
Even if that means it takes longer to get the trip done.
It also means I have to play defense for everyone’s ankles in Trader Joe’s.
I can also stop and sit and listen to her when she reads her story instead of reading it myself because it’s bedtime.
I see that when she is throwing herself on the floor, many times it’s because she was upset about a task she needed help with.
I also know she gets upset when her play is stopped short for nap time, bedtime, whatever time it is…and let me be honest, if my time gets messed with, I’m not happy either.
And it’s all very subtle you know.
But I have started to slow down and I can SEE it happening now.
I can SEE when I check out and start to text, I see how she works to grab my attention.
I SEE that she is upset about having to leave a place, especially when I have pushed her right up to nap time.
I SEE that I lose HOURS a day with her trying to get a picture.
And for what?
Not for anything more valuable than time with her.
I SEE that she needs my help but does not know how to ask, so she throws.
I SEE she gets disconnected when there is rushing and she asks to nurse to have me be still with her.
You know what else I see?
When I really turn my full attention to her, even if it’s busy.
Even if I’m tired.
Even if I am SO irritated.
Even if I have nursed all morning and I REALLY just want my breakfast.
I see how she lights up when she plays with her “Big Bunny” toy.
I see how she has books memorized.
I see her little fingers play with shells and hold chimes.
I see how she goes to check in on the dog constantly to wave “hi” to her while she’s pouting in her crate.
I see her smile with joy at me across the room and I wait for her to come rushing at me for a hug.
I see her whole body relax when we rest on the kitchen rug to nurse.
I also hear her.
I hear her when I stop and listen.
I hear her ask for “Mama. Want to play with Mama”.
And I can play.
It may make my day longer or my house messier or me later than I already am.
But I can play.
Today, tomorrow, the next day and the next…
I can play.