Thursday, May 26, 2011

Slept on the Floor. In the Hallway. Until the Baby Stopped Crying.

The other day I was thinking about the time--long ago--when my older daughter outed me to my mother-in-law about how I once threw a board book to the floor in a fit of very-challenging-toddler-induced frustration, breaking the miniature ballerina doll off its cover. Did I ever tell you about that? I overheard her saying it, so matter-of-fact: "Mama threw this book once when she was mad and broke it." And then the grim silence that, even then, I had to sort of inwardly laugh about, because, of course, why wasn't she telling my mother-in-law about the fact that I SLEPT ON THE FLOOR OUTSIDE THE NURSERY FOR WEEKS AT A TIME? You know? Why wasn't she outing me about my dedication to from-scratch cooking or the way I did things like make homemade Play-Doh and nature collages with them, take them to the park every day, give them fruit-juice ice pops to eat in their swimsuits on the back patio? Oh, no. She had to tell about the one time I threw the board book. And broke it.

Do I even need to tell you that my mother-in-law and I have a very stereotypical mother-in-law-and-daughter-in-law relationship? Let that sink in for a moment. No, the throwing of the book story did not help matters.

Well, anyway, you get it, right? How life is a series of actions and events, some good, some bad, and what you remember isn't necessarily indicative of how things really were, most of the time? That's how I feel, now, often, when I see my daughters getting older and bigger and growing up so quickly, nearly seven and five now, and I think back to their baby and toddler years which now seem sort of quaint, simple, and fun. I sometimes catch myself thinking that I'd like to return to those past springs, the ones with toddlers, the ones with baby playgroups and stroller walks and naps. It seems like there were smaller things to worry about back then, and more opportunities for carefree fun, unencumbered by school and homework and learning to ride a bike, not to mention all the adult concerns and stresses that seem to multiply as the years go by.

But then of course, I realize I'm selectively remembering, and leaving out a lot of the truth--which actually involved an awful lot of crying, and hardly any sleeping.

Also throwing that book on the floor.

Let's just hope my girls remember the other stuff.


Rita said...

This is my first summer with "big kids". So I have NO delusions about those "carefree" toddler years.

So much lifting! And buckling! And packing!

Ahhhh, having Big Kids is goooood.

Shannon said...

@Rita: So true. For instance, the diaper bag! Forgot all about it. ;)

Mnmom said...

A friend of ours in Rochester works in the DA's office. He told both my sister and I that even during our absolutely WORST moments as parents, we were still light years away from what he's seen.

I remember clearly just letting out a primal scream while driving hwy 52 while one of them was having a car seat tantrum. I'm sure the kids remember it.

What they don't realize is that I was running on an avg of 4 hours horrible sleep per night. And that I have run my own teeth through my tongue when one of them stood up in my lap. Or that my ears were still ringing when one of them literally screamed right in my ear.

Or that I did all those things you mention on a daily basis - the popsicles, the play do, the fresh fruit cut into darling bite sized pieces, etc.

Been there.

Donna said...

J commented on it because it was an anomaly. All the other things (like the cooking from scratch and fun activities) are her normal, and it doesn't cross her mind that they are remarkable.

And that is how you know you're parenting well.

Anne said...

Strange coincidence to read this post after I posted my own this morning about nearly dumping a pot of dirt on Lilly's head.

I've been thinking about you these last few days; we need to get our pool passes tomorrow and hope to connect with you lots at the pool this summer!

And I hope our summer this year, what with Lilly being bigger, will be more like the way your summer of fun was last year! :)