Thursday, July 10, 2014

Anyone that knows me, knows that I document moments obsessively. Most of the time it's a good thing. On this day, I thought I would take Evie to the library to see the 'Why Children's Books Matter' exhibit at the New York Public Library before it closes in August. I have this habit of not sharing photos of a moment or day if the day went awry afterwards, so I hesitated to even share these pictures because we really didn't have a great time. I don't know why I do that. I'm not ashamed to say we had a bad day, but maybe I just don't really want to remember them the same way I would like to remember the good ones. I also feel like I'm making things appear more awesome than they actually were, so omitting them altogether is easiest. Trekking into the city is never easy, but it was exceptionally difficult on this day, so we were both frazzled by the time we arrived. Oftentimes I blame it on the two year old - she's being whiny, uncooperative, ungrateful. All of these really mean-spirited words come into my mind and it affects my attitude, then patience and gentleness and kindness all go out the window for awhile. We boarded the train home and I listened to a little girl scream and thrash and in the middle of all of that, I came to a realization and I wasn't angry at her any more. I was more disappointed in myself. After I held her through her fit, she wrapped her legs and arms around me and almost fell asleep and it dawned on me that I hadn't even let her play.

She was so excited about the entire exhibit. She wanted to run and touch and talk excitedly (loudly) and ask questions and climb and read books, and I just wanted her to walk quietly through and look at things because that's what society asks people to do in exhibits, but where's the fun in that? Her natural wonder and curiosity registered in my mind as defiance and disobedience and I thought I needed to correct her. Afterwards, I realized I was the one that needed correcting. If only you had someone to follow you around through your mothering moments and say, 'Hey, you're the one that's being a turd right now.' Alex does that for me sometimes and it's never an easy thing to accept, but I'm grateful he does it. I probably do that for him too often. I realized I had taken her all the way into the city and trekked through this library to this exhibit only to request a picture that resulted in a fit and to give up and leave. It wasn't that the day was about taking that picture. My intentions were good. I wanted to get her out of the house, surprise her with something she would enjoy, but then things started going South and all I could think was, 'We're trying to make memories and I'm going to document it so we can leave.' I didn't even try to repair the day. I guess I put all of this here for her to read one day because I know I'm imperfect and this probably won't be the last time we have a bad day because of me. I just want her to see that I knew I wasn't always right, that the bad days weren't always because of her behavior or attitude, but oftentimes because of mine.

. . . is filled with daily requests for 'peppahs and cheese and trackers' for a 'ffnaack.'

. . . is a little finger held up in protest accompanied by raised eyebrows and a 'Hold on set-unt! I got a twestion.' A real question never follows, of course. She's only trying to get out of doing something unpleasant like going to bed.

. . . is peeking through the crack of the bedroom door to find her flashlight on and books scattered around when she's supposed to be sleeping. That's the one thing I'll let slide past bedtime and I think she knows that so she milks it.

. . . is hearing her exclaiming, 'This is fun, Mama! I having fun!' She's all about telling me when she likes something these days.

. . . is walking by the grocery store and hearing, 'Are we go the grocery stowe t'day?' every time.

. . . is an outstretched hand and a 'Mama, you tome wif me.' anywhere we go. In her eyes, I'm as much of a child as she. In her eyes, my size doesn't matter - even if I'm adult size, I can still be her best friend. I can still play on the playground with her.

. . . is shouts of 'You so funny!' or 'That's vewy funny!' Along with telling me what is fun, she likes to tell me when something is funny.

. . . is conversations interjected by 'Hey, you stop talking.' and 'What you talking 'bout?' She wants to be a part of everything we do, even our conversations.

. . . is letting my mama bear come out when kids become bullies on the playground. She wants so badly to play with anyone, even if they're hurtful. It's a gift and a curse I feel.

. . . is not having the heart to correct her when she calls her belly button a 'buddy bellon.'


  1. you acted enterely normal, i mean, it happens to every mum, so don't feel bad for that... i've observed my daughter and seen that she's like your girl when she's tired, so i try to be clement with her these days (but sometimes i finish quite like you...). also we talk at night when we're in bed, i ask her for the things she's loved and not during the day, and so she talks me about her feelings and it works for her and for me too. wendie's 3 but you could maybe start now...

  2. Aww those last things are so cute!!!! And they remind me of my 3 year old :) I think that all mothers go through the same thought process. When you said she was being "ungrateful" it really hit home because sometimes I feel like I do so much for my daughter and she doesn't care at all but then you stop and think, she is 3 years old and cannot be blamed for that and I can't have expectations like that. I mean, they're kids and have the best lives ever so they don't even understand what being grateful is! The only world they know is the best world where they have a loving family and are handed everything they need and almost everything they want. Being a good mother is having these disappointed thoughts in your head but then being able to step back and say, this is me and my expectations along with circumstances ruining it... nothing else!



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