Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Two years ago today was absolutely not the best day of my life.  It was, frankly, one of the scariest days of my life, preceded by one of the most painful days I've ever experienced.  (24 hours of back labor is no picnic.)  My daughter's birth was not the exciting, beautiful experience I'd hoped for.  Being wheeled into emergency surgery, meeting HusbandX's eyes as he was stopped outside of the surgery room because there wasn't time for him to scrub down, and thinking, "Please, please don't let either of us die," as the anesthesia putting me to sleep washed through me, was an experience I could do without.  And I did come close to dying, scary close.
But two years ago today is also the day I became a mother.  Some might say that I became a mother earlier, when she was conceived, but it never felt like it to me.  Not until she was in my arms.  And despite how awful her birth was, when HusbandX handed her to me, that was definitely one of the best moments of my life.  A thick shock of dark hair, chubby cheeks, plump little pink lips, and stormy blue/gray eyes.  I didn't even bother to count her fingers and toes, I already knew that she was exactly what I'd been waiting for.  It's so amazing to hold a tiny, perfect little human and to realize that you made her.  All my hard work, everything I'd been through to bring her into the world, became worth it.
Two years later, she still is.  I don't say that lightly.  My girl is a challenge.  She's stubborn like her parents--nobody's pushover, and she never will be, thank goodness--and clever, which means she can get herself into trouble really well, and she has a penchant for it.  In fact, I often think that her biggest fault is that she uses her cleverness in devious, trouble-making ways most of the time.  It drives me crazy!  Could she, for once, be easy on her parents?  From what I've seen, no.  If we have one easy day with her, it's followed by a week or more of tear-your-hair-out stressful, want-to-leave-this-kid-at-the-fire-station days.  She has made me cry, and not with joy, more than I ever expected.  Most recently it was when we traveled together and I was actually crying and begging her to fall asleep at 11:00 at night.  She saw my tears and apparently decided that she'd given me enough of a mental breakdown for the day, because she finally stopped laughing at me and fell asleep for not nearly long enough.
She has earned the nickname Monster.
So, she's not easy.  But she is funny, and loving, and happy, and smart.  She loves giving hugs and kisses (and she's finally learned to purse her lips for kisses, rather than open her mouth like she's trying to swallow your face).  She has such a happy laugh, and she loves animals enough to wave at them.  Squirrels in the park, spiders, it doesn't matter.  She'll wave and say, "Hi!" to them.  She brings me books that she wants to read and snuggles into my lap to hear them.  She loves to roar and climb and jump.  She's healthy, and that is a blessing that many parents don't get.
And sometimes, she breaks the rules but it's more funny than irritating.  She can finally open the door to her room so one morning I woke up with her patting me and gently calling, "Mama!"  When I opened my eyes she cheerfully shoved a sugar-encrusted pacifier in my face and declared "Tookie!"  ["Cookie"]  It turns out that she'd woken up before anyone else and, instead of waking us, went downstairs and discovered the sugar bowl on the counter.
She's ahead of the curve and has been throwing epic toddler tantrums for months.  Some of them are annoying, but quite a few have been hilarious to watch.  (Mostly it depends on how much sleep I've gotten.)
She's started picking her own outfits.
And she loves wearing my shoes.

Despite the many, many things she does that aggravate me, she's an easy kid to love.  I am constantly amazed at how fierce she is, in the best way, when she's going after a goal.  If she falls, she gets right back up again.  I'd like to think that HusbandX and I fostered that in her, and maybe we did our part, but much of it is inborn determination.  So on days when she's being difficult, I can remind myself that, no matter how trying she is right now as a toddler (and was as a baby), she will be an amazing adult.  She will be the kind of adult who Gets Shit Done, no matter what.  (I just hope that we can direct her more toward Nobel Peace Prize or Climbing Mount Everest, rather than Ultimate Mob Boss or Dangerous Hacker, in her life's ambitions.)
Two years, though.  Two.  All at once it feels like forever and a very, very short amount of time.  I marvel at how quickly she changes, and how rapidly time has progressed, even though at times it's felt like I've been a parent for so much longer than two years.  But she's still changing month to month, and that is one of my favorite parts of being a mom.  Every month she becomes a little more capable, a little stronger and faster and more independent.  It is awesome, in the dictionary sense of the word, to watch that progression.
I am very far from a perfect parent.  I know I yell at her too much, and lose my temper when she's doing the thing I just put her in time-out for doing.  Twice.  Gah!  In addition, I'm around this all. day.  Every day.  Of course it's going to wear on my temper.  But that's no excuse.  I need to cultivate more patience, particularly now.  Things are so up in the air and her life has changed so drastically in the last six months.  It's tough for the adults here, how much harder is it for a child who doesn't understand all of the changes and the new challenges being asked of her?  She needs to listen better, but I need to use a nicer tone of voice so that she wants to listen.  This is something we'll need to work on together.
There are times when I look at her and it just washes over me, the realization that she's really my kid.  I am that lucky.  I tell her nearly every day, and particularly on our bad days, that she is my favorite baby.  Of all the little kids in the world, I'm glad she's mine.  Even when she's being a tiny tyrant.
Manhattan Beach.  I had fun showing her
that the waves in the ocean come to us
if we're just a little patient.

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