I’ve counted it up. Seriously, I’ve tallied it. I’ve dealt with another persons poo for exactly 672 days. He’s pretty regular in that department so yes, 672 full days of seeing someone elses poo. Charming, right?
These are the things I think about when it’s been a long week in mammahood. The weeks when you wish that you could be as happy about anything in the way your kid is happy about blueberries at 7am. The weeks when you succumb to many of the ideals you hoped you would maintain (What’s that? You want to watch Peppa Pig on my iphone at 6:30am while I catch a few more Zzzz’s? Cool.)
The thing that I’ve been thinking about lately is this: Levi will be 2 in May and the last 2 years have been pretty much about us making sure that he is sustained. We feed him, we wash him, we love on him, we make sure he gets some rest. Now that he is almost 2 and absorbing SO much more of life around him, the terrifying part is that now not only do we have to make sure he is sustained by doing all those aforementioned things – we have to actually teach him stuff about life. We have to make sure he’s a decent human being; show him how to be kind, teach him right and wrong.
I’ve said it before but along with the utterly heart-wrenching glory of loving your child, parenting is also like holding up a very high-definition mirror to yourself on a constant basis. It’s in being a parent you can clearly see the parts of you that are often uncomfortable to acknowledge. Your selfishness (“no, no Levi, this isn’t chocolate – this is terrible stuff, you wouldn’t like this“), your impatience (WHY CAN’T YOU CHANGE DRESS YOURSELF YET!), your pride and anxiety (What 15 minute melt down about getting into the car seat in the middle of the shopping centre car park??? Nothing to see here folks – I’ve got this). I highlight this not to induce more guilt on what already seems to be a highly guilt-ridden population, but as an opportunity to reflect.
Lucy posted a link to this article recently and I’ve been really resonating with similar parenting choices more and more (I’m a little reluctant to commit to saying we practice a certain ‘style’ of parenting because we are definitely winging it in every way possible).
So far, one of the most important lessons when it comes to how we parent has been making sure that we try to see life from Levi’s perspective and treat him as we would want to be treated. (sounds ridiculously simple, but it’s amazing to me how many people dismiss their children’s feelings and reactions simply because they are small). We’ve found that when we do that – everything changes.
They way we engage is different (we want to be silly with him because to him, everything looks like it can be fun!), the way we react is different (we know his behaviour often indicates a need), the way we communicate is different (we try to listen and talk him through stuff more). It’s actually a relief to do it this way. It doesn’t eliminate the occasional melt-down from him or the tiredness of us but it sure does keep that ghastly mirror in check and I feel at peace knowing I’m doing my best.
So I hand it to you, good people: What’s been your most important parenting lesson (so far)?