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Learn to be a good mommy to Anya

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sabrynMy goal as a mother

2 months ago


sabrynRemember she's a person

not some magical short creature with an off button.

Our usual night-time routine is this: I go to bed early, and R stays up with Anya for a bit. Then he puts her to bed, where she sleeps for about half the night; at some point, she wakes and comes to sleep with me. Only she’s been sleeping through the night lately, and waking after I’m already up and working.

Last night, when I said I was going to bed, she ran to the bedroom and hopped into our bed. I joined her, and she tossed and turned for a while. I thought I was going to have to call R to come get her; sometimes she says she wants to sleep when what she really wants to do is watch Netflix in bed until the wee hours, and I had to get up early today. But she kept cuddling close, and I couldn’t bring myself to send her away. Finally, she went to sleep.

Why was I surprised that it took her a while to fall asleep? It takes me 10-20 minutes to go to sleep, and I’m exhausted. She was tired; she’d been yawning and snuggly (she’s rarely snuggly when she’s not tired). And she wanted to sleep with me. So she volunteered to go to bed when I did, rather than fighting sleep til the last possible moment, even though it meant putting herself to sleep for once.

It was so cool. I wish that would happen every night.2 months ago


sabrynLearning

Some days, I’m acutely aware of just how very much my daughter is learning. Big things, like when she was suddenly able to work puzzles. (And rocks at them!) One day, puzzles frustrated the heck out of her. The next, they were almost boring in their simplicity.

Just like that, she’s growing up.

She’s also learning little things, like how to blow her nose. I never realized that you had to teach these things. Everything I can do, she has to learn. And she’s learning every minute of every day. How exciting and overwhelming and fun and occasionally frustrating that must be! No wonder she gets cranky from time to time. I need to cut her a little slack when she tantrums at me. 2 months ago


sabrynSticks and stones

A few events have gone into this post; I won’t go into details, but suffice to say this isn’t coming out of left field.

Time to change the way I think of others, in order to model better behavior for my kid and get a better handle on my own mindset. This one has two parts:

1. Don’t assume the worst in people.
Yesterday, a car was crawling up my butt on the freeway. I got my first speeding ticket last week (I was distracted by my sick baby, not hot-rodding :), so I’m being extra cautious these days. That this guy wanted to push my 70-in-a-65 to 85-in-a-65 just boiled my blood. Plus he was on a cell phone.

Then I thought: Maybe he’s worried about a sick kid. Business suit and tie…maybe his child is sick, and he’s rushing home after a long day to spend as much time with his baby as possible. Maybe he’s on the phone with that kid now, and the child is in tears, and wants Daddy nownowNOW.

I can relate. I got over. He sped off. I felt much better about us both.

Yeah, his reasons might not have been so altruistic. But who’s to say they weren’t?

2. Don’t let others’ opinions of me wreck my day.
Haters gonna hate. And unfortunately, some of those closest to me will think the worst of me at any given moment, whether I deserve it or not. I can’t control that. What I can control is my attitude towards it. And rather than stew over it, I’m going to take such comments as a red flag that said person is directing even harsher comments towards themselves, and lashing out at others as a result of their own self-loathing. Again, may not be true…but I like us all a lot better when I assume that is the case.

See, here’s the thing: What’s inside ripples outward. When I allow others to make me feel bad, my interactions with my family are altered. When I’m in a bad mood, that puts R in a bad mood, which puts Anya in a bad mood. Nobody wins. And I’m extremely stressed lately, so it takes very little to set me off.

I want Anya to grow up in a home filled with happiness. And that’s hard right now, because I am so very stressed out. But I don’t want her or R to suffer because of that; my stress is neither of their faults. But I can’t control the behavior of others, so I need to start working on my own.

Be kind. Think kind. Who knows – perhaps I will get kind in return. 4 months ago


sabrynI know I'm just tired

and burned out, and worried. And that tomorrow, next week, two years from now, I’ll feel differently. But right now, this second, I am sorry I have a college education. Maybe if I didn’t, I could lay in bed and snuggle my sick girl, and her father would be the one earning our living.

Breadwinner mommy isn’t an easy role any day, but it’s especially hard when she’s so sick and wants nothing more than for me to hold her. Because I’m her mother, and that’s what I’m supposed to do. That’s my real job.

At least I am here, and not 40 miles away in a cubicle. 4 months ago


sabrynToo much of a good thing?

The modern family bemoans their lack of family time. They take trips together annually to connect with each other.

My family spends nearly 24/7 under the same roof. More so this week, as we’re sick and have thus quarantined ourselves.

Here’s an argument that took place this morning, not 10 minutes after A got up.

Scene: A is in her highchair, having just discovered her Valentine’s present of a stuffed Hello Kitty and chocolate. Mumma is trying to take her picture with her present. Daddy is unwrapping chocolate for A to eat. A wants to hug Hello Kitty, chocolate and photo be damned.

A: [Throws a kicking, screaming fit.]

R: Oi! Quit kicking and eat your chocolate!

M: Shush, both of you! [removes A from high chair and hands her Hello Kitty] This is supposed to be a holiday of love and joy, dammit!

Yeah, we gotta take a break from each other. 5 months ago


sabrynSpoiled

At dinner last night, a woman at an adjacent table asked about Anya. (How old is she, three? Two? Wow, she’s tall for her age!) Then she smiled and said “And just a little spoiled, huh?” I smiled and agreed.

I used to bristle at the word “spoiled.” As an only child, I was deemed spoiled for simply breathing air. I may not have had to share my possessions, but I knew kids with siblings who got more – and got away with more – than I ever did. But because I’m an only, I was spoiled and they were not. (I’m still mad about it.)

As a mommy, though, I’m reconsidering what we mean by spoiled. Do we mean a spoiled brat? I don’t think so. Not that we never mean it in that case – but that’s something we say behind the parent’s back, not to her face. No, I think we just mean “treated like a beloved and respected member of the family, not an inconvenience.” In that case, yes – she’s spoiled. Spoiled rotten. And I’m proud of it. 5 months ago


sabrynI'm making resolutions for her now

Two, in fact:

1. De-bottle.
2. De-diaper.

The first one…is gonna be rough. She can, and does, drink just fine from a cup. (Hates sippies with a purple passion, so she went straight to the big-girl cups.) But she prefers a bottle. And in many ways, so do I – the mess factor, for instance. But it’s time (past, really) to wean her from the bottle. And she’s going to take it personally. Wailing and gnashing of teeth will ensue. I may have to recultivate a taste for alcohol just to maintain some semblance of sanity. How I wish I were exaggerating here.

The second one, I’m less concerned with. She knows what to do and when/where to do it. She’s even got the finer points (hand washing and such) down – heck, she wipes out the sink afterward. It’s just a matter of convincing her that it’s worthwhile to stop playing long enough to tinkle in the potty; diapers are terribly convenient. And really, it’s not a huge deal – it’d just be nice to have her out of diapers before we bring another baby into the mix. So I’m going to do my best to sell the potty process in the coming year. 7 months ago


sabrynAll of my THIS

Yes. Yes, yes, yes.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-koppelkam/body-image_b_3678534.html

Mind you, it’s hard to stop bitching about my thighs. I hate them so. (Also everything above and below them, some days.) But in the interest of raising a daughter who sees her body as a wonderful gift, not a source of shame, I must do better.

Also, I must make kale. And chocolate cake with 6 sticks of butter. 8 months ago


sabrynAnger management

For years, I’ve heard about the temper that runs in R’s family. About R’s own temper, before we met. And I’ve seen a bit of that temper in A, but nothing like she’s displaying these days.

When I was a kid, and I got mad at my parents, I wrote them scathing notes: “I do not love you, Mom and Dad.” A goes in headfirst, fists flying. In the past two days, she’s injured me twice – she threw a (full) shampoo bottle at me, bruising the snot out of my foot, and last night she bit me. (Not all that hard – she’s bitten me much harder – but she would. not. let. go.)

I don’t spank her. And I’ve guilted R into not spanking her. But I did have to swat her tush last night to get her to release me.

I understand why she does the things she does. She’s little, and she gets so very frustrated, and she doesn’t know how to handle those feelings. So she has meltdowns in stores. She slaps, bites, and throws things. At me, not anyone else. I’m safe. I’ll love her no matter what she does to me.

But damn, am I tired of getting beat up.

I’ve got to find a way to help her manage those feelings somehow.

I also want to find a way to manage my own. While I don’t spank, I do yell. And I hate it. But I don’t know what else to do. Sometimes yelling is all that gets her attention. But I can’t help but think there’s a better way for both of us to manage our frustration. 8 months ago


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