Linna and I have had a rough week (AKA, Linna gave Mama Saigh some HELL while Papa Saigh has been traveling for work). She's been clingy, crazy, and just plain UNREASONABLE. But tonight, I sat with my almost 3-year-old in my arms, and sobbed while reading the classic book "Love You Forever".
Maybe it was tonight's wine o'clock glass of vino. Maybe it was the fact that my BABY will be a 3-year-old in less than 20 days. But I had an "I have-to-pretend-these-are-happy-tears" sob fest with my little lady tonight... and it was the release that I very much needed.
If you know me well, you know that I am a control-freak and clean-freak. These are qualities I've developed in recent years, that I'm seriously trying to "tame". I've noticed that I have been pretty high-strung, and VERY short-tempered with my daughter. I FREAK out over instances that in the grand scheme of things really don't matter (food on the floor, water/juice/milk spilled on tabletops, stickers ALL over the f-ing house, pee and "other projects" found in our bed RIGHT before we go to sleep, her inability to do things "right", etc. etc.). Mostly things that can be cleaned up, fixed, replaced, and eventually forgotten... but things that inconvenience ME.
It took a friend who posted a link to The Important Thing About Yelling on Facebook the other day (thank you "unnamed" friend), to make me realize that these really unnecessary and emotional displays of anger/frustration that I am presenting to my daughter, REALLY DO affect her.
I used to shake my head at other moms who would have the balls to question why their kid is "acting up", when I've witnessed that mom "lose it" with her kid multiple times. Duh... your kid is "acting up" because YOU aren't paying attention to her, and YOU don't give him the positive reaction he is desperately craving. Well, after taking an unanticipated look into my OWN recent behavior, I am honestly attributing my almost 3-year-old's "animal-like" behavior... to MY behavior.
Three days ago, I put Linna in a time-out for one of her "toddler meltdowns". She hadn't had one in a pretty long time, but this one was deserving of an Oscar for her dramatic performance. I am committed to my time-outs, and we ALWAYS end in a calm discussion/understanding and hug, which is easier said than done. After placing my kid back in her time-out spot more than a dozen times (more like 50 times) while she kicked and screamed, I raised my voice (ok, I yelled), grabbed her by the arm, and said/yelled, "You do NOT act like this with your Mama! I make the rules. YOU do NOT!".
I was seriously sweating, and she had pushed me over the edge.
After a few more times of her kicking and screaming while we went back-and-forth into her time-out spot, I watched my kid take a deep breath, and YELL back at me with a look of terror, confusion, and determination in her eyes. Her face was bright red, and her veins bulged from her neck.
I will never forget the angry and confused look on her face.
I don't remember what she yelled back at me, but I remember thinking that this isn't "normal". Yes she was misbehaving, but her angry outburst seriously scared me. I now realize that I had been doing EXACTLY what "those" other moms were doing... "THOSE" moms that I had shaken my head at before, for not being a "good mom".
WHY is my kid yelling at me for "no reason"?!
Because I HAVE YELLED AT HER.
WHY is my kid clinging to me for "no reason"?
Because I'VE BEEN TOO BUSY on my phone/iPad/computer, to play with her.
We ALL lose it sometimes. Moms are human too. After reading the Important Thing About Yelling, I decided to take 48-hours of self-awareness and focus on my behaviors, actions, and relationship with my daughter (as difficult as it may be at times). I took a long, hard look at the things I stress and freak-out about with her, and I realize that most of my frustrations stem from the fact that she doesn't adhere to MY agenda.
My kid doesn't clean up after herself, or understand the idea of "we're running late". She thinks that creating her own water park in the hallway while I'm in the bathroom is a good idea. She doesn't see the need to bathe/shower. My kid also acts like a tiny drunk person when she's over-tired... thrashing about, speaking incoherently, and emotionally breaking down for no reason (the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, I guess).
REALITY CHECK MAMA SAIGH... She's not even 3. What the f*ck do you expect?!
|My Linna at 1 month old.|
Linna is only going to get bigger, and I'm sure times will only get tougher, but I am SO thankful to have my little spit-fire to keep me grounded and connected to reality. In a few years, I will probably be that "crazy mom" who creeps into her teenage daughter's room to sing to her as she sleeps, and I'll probably be the mom who climbs into my adult daughter's house to "rock" her. But I seriously hope that my baby girl will one day realize what it feels like to be a Mama herself, and won't think she's too crazy too "rock" me in my old age.
I'll love you forever. I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living Linna, my baby you'll be.
|Mama Saigh and Baby Linna, December 2011|