Saturday, March 31, 2012

Things Are Changing

There are things I said I would never do as a parent. I've eaten those words more often than I can count.

Bending my own rules is becoming something I need to get more comfortable with because it's happening with ever-increasing frequency. I didn't set the bar so high in the ethers that it should be difficult to attain, but I need to lower it a bit these days. I hear myself saying, "If you don't do this, then we can't...," a lot of bribes, negotiations, and a lot more no's than I feel okay with. I am not big on threats and suddenly I feel like I am using a few too many manipulative tools to get through the day. I want my child to learn direct consequences but lately I might be shoving it down her throat a bit.

My fuse is shorter than usual because I am exhausted. I am eight months pregnant and feel like my pants are too tight, even when I am not wearing any. I can only sleep in one position, I get hungry and it comes on so fast it hurts, I waddle and look like I stuffed a beach ball up my shirt. Lifting my daughter is an activity that has been greatly reduced lately. I feel these changes, so surely she is aware of them as well.  It is hard to decipher between her behavior now as being appropriate for her age, or her having an awareness that her world is changing.

After a recent tantrum that resulted in both Twig and I in tears, I called a friend to share my saga with her. She said she read somewhere that a tantruming toddler is like an abusive relationship. They scream at you, push you away, you walk away, they want you to come back, they swing at you (even hit you sometimes), and when it's all over they say, "I love you." That is exactly what it feels like. For Twig lately, she throws a fit when she wants to surprise me with an outfit, and then freaks out when she can't get it buttoned or zipped on her own. I try to help her, but she goes from zero to ninety rather quickly.

I understand her frustration though. She is trying so hard to show me how independent she can be. When it backfires, she feels so defeated. I also think about what's to come for her, and remember a YouTube video about how bringing home a new baby for your first child is like a husband walking in the door with a new wife. He isn't leaving you or loving you any less -- you just have to learn to share him now. My heart breaks just thinking about it. In addition I have my own reservations about how things will change. My husband and I have just figured out how to navigate with one child and now we are adding another to the mix. No doubt we are excited, but there is also a lot of "how will we do this with two?" floating around in our heads. We will figure it out. Everyone does. I just hope we don't resemble an abusive polygamist household before we get it down.

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