adventureswiththepooh

An honest take on life and parenthood

Of Monday morning meltdowns and do-overs

on January 26, 2016

20151230_120654Have you ever had one of those mornings with your child when you start the day off fighting about simple things?

The Pooh and I started off that way on Monday morning.

I woke her up at 7 am as I always do, got her dressed, gave her breakfast, and let her watch Sofia the First on Disney Junior.

I packed her lunch, fed Callie the cat and Baby Fish IV, and warmed up the car.

When I approached her to brush her teeth, wash her face, and go to the bathroom before leaving for school, she had not touched her breakfast. She even had the gall to ask for another episode on TV and more time to eat.

Unsympathetic, I refused more TV and informed her that she would have to eat her breakfast in the car on the way to school.

We started arguing, since then she refused to brush her teeth. Breakfast after brushing would taste funny, you see.

After considerable arguing, yelling, and crying, we ended up leaving the house, late for school.

I buckled her into her car seat, but she had not washed her face, brushed her teeth, or gone to the potty. Her hair was barely out of bird’s nest stage.

My only victory was the homemade zucchini bread in her hand, which she ate on the way. I was sure her teacher would think I was the worst mother ever, but I was done fighting and just wanted to get on with the day.

As I left her in her kindergarten classroom, she had joined the circle for her morning meeting. I caught her eye and blew her a kiss. She nodded and gave me a smile.

I wanted her to know that in spite of our earlier battle, I still loved her.

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I did not enjoy my own childhood. It was an anxious, stressful existence and I always felt decades older than my true age. I also did not gravitate naturally towards little kids and babies, and had little idea of how to interact with them.

When I learned that I would become a parent, I was excited but apprehensive. Would I be a good mom? How could I make sure that my little one would be as healthy as possible, not just physically, but emotionally and psychologically? Could I teach her to be more resilient than I was?

So when the Pooh arrived, I fell in love with her instantly, but I had no idea how to be a mother. I figured it out on the fly, and now I know that everyone else does too.

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As I have gone through different stages with her, I have found a surprise benefit to parenting: a do-over.

The Pooh gives me a chance to do childhood over again.

The playing, the dancing, the learning of emotional ropes.

The laughing, the silliness, and the discovery of places and people and books.

The flouncing, the giggles, and the grappling with questions, some big, some minute and endless.

I am 44 and she is nearly six, and there are times that I don’t want to play in the ocean or go sledding or play dolls. But I do, and we have so much fun that I wonder why I hesitated in the first place.

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Sometimes she asks me questions that I cannot answer.  I confess my ignorance, and I see a flash of disappointment in her bright brown eyes.

The Pooh is strong willed and persistent and logical, and while it is – ahem – challenging to parent her at times, I refuse to steamroll her for the sake of having a docile, obedient child.

I want her to be able to stand her ground and think for herself, instead of going along to get along as I have for so much of my life.

And in the meantime, I work to teach her flexibility and empathy for others, and which important lines cannot be crossed.

As we battle and laugh and play and talk, I see the world through the eyes of a little girl again, and I can’t help but wonder what kind of woman she will grow up to be.

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As we approach the Pooh’s sixth year on the planet, I feel a tremendous sense of gratitude towards her. Yes, parenting is tons of work, with highlights and lowlights and tedium and fun, all rolled into one little person and years that telescope into one another.

But as I mother the Pooh, I have learned what it is to also mother myself.

Thanks to her, I’ve had the chance to hit the reset button on childhood.

And what a beautiful childhood it is.

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2 responses to “Of Monday morning meltdowns and do-overs

  1. jgroeber says:

    Love this. Especially the photo of the Pooh sitting on the floor assessing the rest of us with those wise eyes.
    It makes me laugh that my post from this morning also describes a morning of trying to get my kids from bed to school without any of us losing our minds (or our breakfasts, or our dental hygiene.) These days are fleeting and ex-haust-ing, but yes, they really do allow us a momentary takeover on those chaotic and daunting childhoods of yesteryear. Cheers to you and lovely Pooh. xo

    Like

  2. Thank you as always, Jen, for taking the time to read here. We need to find a way to meet in person, now that I am thinking about it. Might just load up the Pooh in the car this summer and come find you and your brood in MA. It’s not that far.

    Liked by 1 person

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