With the rising of the sun comes the rising of my kiddo to begin yet another day of unforeseen experiences. Some days parenting is a struggle so pure and entrenching that you fear your sanity is slipping away from you like the tide dragging something out to sea. Other days the elation is so profound that you think your body cannot possibly contain all the positive emotion you feel for this other human being. You simply never know what a day will hold as a parent.
Will they have an accident when you have no extra pants handy? Are they going to puke in the car? Will they accidentally injure you again? Or will you laugh so hard that you pee your pants because your 2-year-old just randomly informed you that she is “pissed off”?
Hard to say.
Recently my kiddo did something that more or less blew my mind, which wasn’t the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last. This is how it all went down.
My 2-year-old has refrigerator magnets that are; you guessed it, rarely on the refrigerator. But there is this one magnet in particular that she has been carting around for about a week now. She’s taken to making imaginary phone calls on it, and she takes imaginary pictures as well. She had it outside with her at the park the other day and she stopped to take a picture of the mountains as the sun was setting behind them as if she really wanted to capture the moment.
I hadn’t really given much thought to the magnet/camera thing because kids do odd things all the time. So I’ve heard her talking and thought, “oh, she’s in the living room talking to grandma on her magnet phone again.” Her phone conversations give me a window into her world, as it’s pretty obvious she’s mimicking how I talk on the phone. Do I stand like that when I talk on the phone? I have to remind her that she cannot have the phone at the dinner table, or in her room when she’s going to bed. I work pretty hard at maintaining a straight face when I’m laying down the law about her imaginary phone, but she takes it seriously; “ok mamma, I will put it right here for dinner time okay?”
So life has gone on this way with the magnet phone and then just the other day it dawned on me. She came to me asking for help in finding her magnet.
“Mamma where is my xylophone magnet?”
Xylophone….. phone….! Ah, of course!
She had made the assimilation between phone and xylophone and I just chalked it up to the average weird kiddo behavior without really thinking about it. After I figured it out I was in awe, yet again, of how kid’s minds work. I found it to be incredibly clever and endearing.
At some point, I joined the parent club but I don’t remember signing up. I mean I know I’m a parent, but I didn’t think I was going to be that parent who feels convinced that my child is a genius. But nonetheless, here I am. How could I not be? My 2 ½ yr old daughter can identify about 40 states and 15 countries on a map. How is that possible? It blows me away!
I have certainly learned that we don’t give kids enough credit. It seems that on a societal level we tend to shove kids into expectation boxes where we tell them what they are and are not capable of doing according to their age or size. I remind myself every day to let her fall, let her try, let her fail, let her struggle, let her get hurt, and to let her figure it out for herself. Don’t tell her to be careful, tell her instead to focus on what she’s doing. I know I’m a parent because I hear myself belt out phrases like, “You need to try and solve your own problem before I help you.”
I love watching the pride swell up in her expression when she does something for herself for the first time, especially when she struggled to make it happen.
Parenting is akin to reading a really great book. A book isn’t really great because everything goes perfectly in the story from cover to cover. You know it’s a great book when you can laugh out loud, or burst into tears. When you feel concerned that you’re reading it too fast because you’re nearing the end too quickly. It generates a sadness, which comes when you are only a couple of pages from the end and you put it down so that you can stretch it out longer. The moment when you read the last line, gently close the book and then sit there pondering in silence; that is a good book.
I’ve wished so many times that I could freeze Ani at certain ages/stages. She’s getting taller all the time, stringing sentences together, and has become a kiddo rather than a baby. I can finally understand what people mean when they look at me with the longing side-glance and say, “they grow up too quickly don’t they?” Now that I’m officially in the parent club it is my responsibility to gently shake my head while looking longingly at my daughter as I reply, they sure do….they sure do.