I’m going to start by telling you that I’ve shed a few tears this week, and at times I’ve been feeling the need to escape. Nope, it’s not from the desert heat that is still lingering around the squelching 40 degree C mark. It’s not from the husband who has actually been a great help. In fact a certain little person is at the heart of the reason why I’ve been feeling frustrated of late.
Yes, somewhere along the road to three-dom, Molly has learned the art of saying “NO!” in a big way. My simple orders are being met with defiance, feet are being stomped in protest, hands are being flailed in an effort to convey what she wants. The butter wouldn’t melt two-some has been replaced with an assertive, independent little girl who seems at times intent on pushing Mummy’s buttons! While teachers tell me she’s as good as gold, the tantrums seemed to be stored up for when I make an appearance.
Pause. Deep breath. It’s another one of those parenting challenges that I need (excuse the image here) a set of swingers for, but as yet I find myself unable to harden to it all. I try not to take it so personally, but in truth, it’s really, really hard. While thankfully it’s not always like this, I’ll confess to dealing with at least one stand off a day. The husband even rushed home early yesterday to relieve my frazzled self following a major altercation that ended in getting my lunch boxed rapidly to go, while removing a wailing “I WAANNNNT ice-cream NOOOWWWW!” Molly away from judging eyes and ears.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve tormented myself with the thought that perhaps I’m alone in all of this until I bumped into another exasperated Mum. A Mum who is also juggling the demands of a tiny baby whilst riding the roller coaster of raising a three going on thirty year old. “Ah, you’ve got yourself a three-nager right there – I know exactly how you feel!” Weary sighs are omitted, tales of tantrums swapped, stories of public meltdowns expressed and admissions of “sometimes I don’t even like my own child” are whispered guiltily. Smiles and laughter then ensues under the realisation that it’s perfectly normal to feel at the end of your tether. (“Oh you’re so cute, darling!” said no mother ever to her post tantrum toddler).
Yes, it’s really hard this parenting business. We can read the manuals, google the forums and listen to the advice, but nothing quite prepares you for the responsibility of raising a real human being. The most difficult thing I find right now is the juxtaposition of a small baby who really can’t do much wrong (apart from pooping regularly at 4.30am and not going back to sleep), with a mini adult who is really starting to carve her own way in the world. A little girl who is still getting to grips with having to share her mummy with someone new. A challenge that I know often leaves her feeling jealous and frustrated.
While I know that perhaps tomorrow there will be a meltdown waiting in the wings to test my patience all over again, I also know this is part and parcel of being a parent. Pushing the boundaries, testing the limits, making mistakes, saying sorry, starting all over again – finding your way – I know it all too well from my own childhood! So as the “sorry Mummy”s are issued and hugs are exchanged, I’m reminded of how much of an amazing thing it is to watch a little person unfold, even if it does involve some darn right trying times along the way.
Yes, there will be always days that we piss each other off. Days when we want to close the toilet door and just have a darn pee in peace! Days when we phone the husband in tears demanding he come home right NOW and take over. Days when we teeter close to breaking. But with the rough comes the smooth – the joy at the first giggle, the excitement of new milestones reached, the hilarity of those mini adult conversations, and above all, the huge love these little people have for us. Yes, this is how we grow. This is how we learn. So for now, I’ll just have to embrace the three-nage phase and continue to look on in wonder at the little woman that she all too quickly becoming.
To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.