Rose colored glasses
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about how fast time flies by us, probably because Annabelle’s first birthday is on Sunday. I’ve also been reading The No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers (let’s face it, I missed the boat on the infant stage) because I seem to have reached the end of my rope on the nighttime battles. There’s a passage in the book that talks about toddlers wanting to have you with them to fall asleep. It asks you to make a decision. Do you want to be there to hold your baby/toddler until they fall asleep or don’t you? There’s a whole list of tips on weaning them from your arms at night if that’s the route you choose . It goes on to talk about how some parents don’t mind snuggling with their babies to help them fall asleep, after all, the time will come when they won’t want you to snuggle with them. The jist of this is that if you do choose to do this, be present while you’re doing it. Don’t try to hurry it, don’t think about the fifty thousand things that need to get done, just snuggle and enjoy the moment.
I fall into that camp of parent. I will not let Annabelle cry it out, don’t even bother trying to talk me into it, it’s not going to happen. I love spending that time with Annabelle at the end of the day when we’re both relaxed and happy and she nurses and falls asleep in my arms. Sometimes I am so relaxed that I fall asleep with her, or even before her. Those days are wonderful and I want them to last forever.
The problem is that not every day is a good day. We all have bad days no matter who we are or what we do. Some days are full or rainbows and butterflies and some days you stand under a tree full of pooping birds. That’s life. During the day I teach Dual Language PK in the public school system to children that have been classified as “at risk”. On my good days I read stories, play games that help them learn the alphabet and write words and sometimes even read. We do fun stuff and dance and have a ball and I’m grateful that I can touch the lives of 40 kids everyday. Then I come home and am grateful for the miracle that is my daughter. We have dinner together, do our bedtime ritual, I hold her in my arms and nurse her and then she looks up at me and strokes my hair and my face, smiles at me and laughs and we both end up falling asleep. Everything is right in the world. Rainbows and butterflies!!
On other days I spend my days reminding kids that used toilet paper goes in the toilet, not in the trash can or on the floor. I remind them that we do not write on the floor, we don’t hit, spit on, or try to kiss our friends. We don’t eat play dough or stick it in our ears or up our nose and we don’t put Mrs. Bank’s things into our backpacks to take home. I answer questions from CPS and am screamed at by angry mothers who demand to know why their kid has a scratch on their face and why I don’t know what happened. And I come home and have dinner with Annabelle. Again we go through our bedtime rituals but this time that bonding time after the nursing is different. Instead of stroking my hair and face the pulls my hair and hits me on the face. She laughs at me and refuses to get comfortable, she screams and swats at me. My cortisol is through the roof and I want to scream or rip my hair out or put her in her crib so I can go and cry.
Annabelle does the same thing pretty much every night and she usually ends up falling asleep at the same time. The only thing that’s different is my attitude. I’m angry and stressed and tired and I can’t bear the weight of the world on my shoulders. I’m sure Annabelle feels my stress and it probably stresses her out too and makes it harder for her to fall asleep. The only cure is to put on my rose colored glasses, breathe and remember how fast time flies. If I’ve made a conscious decision that for right now I’m ok with rocking her until she goes to sleep then I will be present. I won’t think about the dishes, one dog scratching on the door while the other one runs around outside barking. I won’t think about all the things I still have to do. There will always be things to do but this moment is only one. Yes, I have to remind myself to breathe and relax but I want to hold on to these moments for as long as I can, and the only way to cherish them is to be relaxed and to be present.
Bedtime is going to be my baby step into being more present. Being relaxed and enjoying the moment. Hopefully it will rub off on other areas of my life without even making an effort. I’d love to be a zen-like, relaxed, go with the flow person all the time, even when the going gets tough. I hate thinking about all the moments I’ve been too stressed out to enjoy. What a waste. So relax. Don’t worry about the dishes because once they’re clean there will only be more. But this moment, right now, the moments you enjoy with your family will never come back. Don’t waste those moments by letting birds poop on you.