"We're not putting her on a schedule"
"We are busy people and she has to fit into our family life too. We are not going to be those people whose lives revolve around a specific nap time"
"TV is Satan's Mouthpiece."
"You should rarely need to yell at a child. There are more patient, creative ways to handle things."
"I don't care what anyone says, I work all day and if I want to rock my baby to sleep until she's 2, that's what I'm doing"
Just a few of the parenting philosophies that you might have found floating around our house for the last 3 years. We were tuned in. We got this. We had the parenting thing pretty down pat, we course adjusted according to what felt good and right for our family.
TV is a regular part of the house but we compromised with Netflix, where we don't have to deal with the commercialism of TV.
We yell. Well, I yell. Sometimes I run out of time and resources.
Rocking to sleep faded out when I needed to start reclaiming my evenings for myself and my husband.
Course adjustments. So far, so good.
Until October. My parenting is beyond course adjustment. It needs an entire reinvention. There are days I don't even feel I know who this little one is in front of me. I feel like I'm parenting someone else's kid and trying to figure out what makes them tick. This little one, who has been like a third arm or another lobe of my brain, the two of us moving in pretty harmonious time. How could it be that she is become separate from me?
How can it be that I don't understand her?
And how can it be that I don't know how to be her mother right now?
Everything I've learned is no longer true.
She needs a schedule. And naps at pre-determined times. And she screams at me. And whines, all the time. She doesn't even try talking normally first, she goes straight for the drama.
Some days I feel this whining, screaming, tantruming creature overshadows my sweet, loving, engaging little girl.
Until I sneak into her room after I put her to bed. It's been a horrific evening. I've exhausted everything I know how to do and it's just time for her to do her part. There's heartbreaking crying. I finally put her lovingly to bed but my guilt is eating me alive.
I sneak into her room and stroke her hair and whisper in her sleeping ear, "You're always my best little friend. I love you no matter what. Even if we have a little fight, I love you so much".
To my surprise, she is awake. With the purity that only children can muster up, she puts her little arms around me and says, "I'm sorry I was fighting with you. You're my best friend, Mommy." She snuggles back under the blankets. I pat her back and we listen to a lovely lullaby, "I would follow you. Anywhere you want me to. Tomorrow, forever, always".
In the midst of knowing nothing that I once knew, in the midst of learning how to mommy walk again, in the midst of doing everything wrong and breaking all the rules, somewhere we must have done something right.