June 12, 2014

peace, finally...

Peace, finally. Some days, naptime is rough business. #mommyhood #eisleygirl
"It's nap time," I said.

"Okay, mommy," she said. "Three books. The Rapunzel one, too."

"Two books, okay? Now come sit down, please."

We read books, cuddling, happily and calmly. Then she wanted a different toy before going in her crib. Then another, different toy. Then she wanted to get a toy for her toy. Then she rummaged through every toy basket looking for one particular toy that didn't turn up.

"Enough, Eisley. Grab your Rapunzel and let's get to your nap."

She wanted water. Then she wanted another book. Then she wanted more water. Then she threw her blanket, her doll, her other blanket, anything she could find within her reach. Over the next ten minutes, I was in and out of the room over and over, trying to calm her down and get her to curl up with her blanket and go to sleep. She yelled at me, punched the air in my direction and crossed her arms with a huge sigh. 

I walked out and she hollered for five minutes straight while I watched the minutes tick by on my phone. Breathe, breathe, breathe.

Some days, nap time is a fight. It's a rare occasion—or at least, it used to be, until recently. As we get closer to her third birthday, she has picked up the art of distraction and will sometimes do anything within her power to delay the nap time or bedtime process. This is new, so it's tough to deal with, but I've been working hard to be more intentional with my patience during moments like these. Granted, I'm not always successful, but I'm working on it. Hard.

I finally walked back in and she was still wailing angrily. Breathe, breathe, breathe.

"Okay, Eisley, here's your doll. Now lay down with your blankie."

Surprisingly, she calmed down immediately. I never know when she's ready to wave the white flag during moments like these, but it's always a relief.

"Sing to me, mommy."

"Okay. What song?"

"Twinkle twinkle, little star."

"Okay."

She finally curled up with her blanket and I stroked her sweaty little forehead while singing softly. This is the second day in a row I've had to do this, and as much as I dread creating a new bad habit and giving into her demands, there are times I just have to give in. And sing. And watch her eyes grow heavy. And look at this tiny person, so full of energy and personality and life, and try to just savor the moment. I sing, and am glad that something so simple—after almost twenty minutes of fighting sleep and screaming and throwing things—has the power to calm her and comfort her.

Lately, I feel like every day is filled with battle-picking and meltdown-avoiding. This age is so exciting, entertaining and completely amazing, but it also manages to launch me back into survival mode at times, and it's all I can do to not have a meltdown myself. My daughter is old enough now that I'm very aware of how nearly everything I do has an impact on her, which means I have to be so careful with my reactions, my encouragements, my words, my attitude. It is a lot to carry, and many days it feels like one step forward, two steps back.

But along I go, because no matter what I end up doing right or wrong, there is always another day. I have to keep reminding myself that I've done more good than bad, and that she gives me more grace than perhaps I realize. I wonder if someday she'll remember my brushing her sweaty bangs off of her forehead and singing her to sleep. 

I hope she remembers those things, and knows how hard I always try to be the mother she needs.

11 comments :

  1. This reminded me of one of my very favorite quotes from Maya Angelou: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

    I'm willing to bet she WILL remember your brushing her sweaty bangs off her forehead or your singing "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star." But, even if she doesn't remember exactly, she'll always remember how you made her feel -- care for, understood, and loved. : ) You're a great mom, Kerri. I know from all the other moms in my life that it can be hard to believe that when it's you, but it's always quite clear to others.

    Also, I can't believe how quickly it seems she's gone from baby to little girl! Such a sweet photo!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your words always make my day, Cate. :) Thank you for being such a gem.

      Delete
  2. I know you know this, but you are most definitely not alone. Every time you write something about the struggles of this phase with Eisley I am just nodding along because I know EXACTLY what you mean. Naps are so hard for us, and don't even get me started about baths. I'm currently subscribing to the "whatever works" parenting method. It may come back to haunt me one day, but right now we are just surviving!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We'll make it through this! I have to remind myself that one bad day isn't going to ruin her life or destroy our schedule. Sometimes survival mode (and extra snacks and walks to the park) are just in the cards.

      You're an amazing mama, and I'm grateful to have a friend who has a daughter in the same stage as Eisley! So encouraging. Solidarity, right?

      Delete
  3. This post made me tear up... BIG time!

    "...I'm very aware of how nearly everything I do has an impact on her, which means I have to be so careful with my reactions, my encouragements, my words, my attitude."

    My patience has been so thin lately. I find myself yelling or talking in a really mean tone far too often and it's typically always around bedtime... after the tenth time walking one or the other back to their beds or responding to "just one more question". Isabelle is old enough now that she calls me out. "Mommy, we don't talk that way to people. We need to be kind and respectful." It stops me in my tracks and what's even more is the grace she shows me every single time. Thank you for sharing. This was exactly the reminder I needed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the sweet feedback, Tatum! How come we can't live next door and talk about all these things in person? I mean, honestly. It's just not fair. ;)

      I can tell you're an incredible mama, and I always figure that if you are always trying your best as a mama (even on the hard days), then you're doing it right. Hugs, lady!

      Delete
  4. I love this. Every bit of it. This is what raising kids is about - give and take, love and structure - your writing is so lovely as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Margarita! You are always such an encouragement. Thank you for being so sweet. <3

      Delete
  5. I love and appreciate your honesty about the struggles and joys of motherhood. It's incredibly naive, but I kept telling myself during the wee infant days, "When she's ___ months, it will get easier." And, in some ways, it has...but each age and stage brings new challenges (and we're only 9 months in!) We're still a few years away from toddlerdom, but your posts will be bookmarked and saved for when we're struggling through naps or whatever comes our way. You're doing great work with your sweet girl. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, sweet friend! And to this day I still find myself saying that same sentence, thinking at a certain point it will be "easier" (whatever "easier" even means, right?). With each stage comes new joys and new challenges. You just have to learn to roll with the punches and remember you're doing the best you can with what you have. :)

      Hugs, Jill!

      Delete

Thoughts? Questions? General musings? Do share!

If you are asking a question, I will respond here within the comments—so, be sure to click that handy little "notify me" box below to know when I've replied!