I’ve only been at this parenting gig for a little under 2 years at this point and with only one child at the moment so you can take what I have to say with a grain of salt but the stark contrast in the past two days has been remarkable and it reminds me that the only constant is in fact change. “The days are long but the years are short” is a mantra that sits in the back of my mind but sometimes it still gets lost in the day to day life.
Two nights ago the Munchkin was not cooperating on the sleep front. Whatever was going on in her little mind kept her and I awake most of the night. Followed by my busiest day at school (7 periods with my first and only break almost 4.5 hours into my day) after a long weekend. Trying to get myself back in gear while setting up and conducting two major labs this week: a giant enzyme lab that I’m running for the first time this year and the first dissection with my marine biology seniors. Needless to say I was supposed to hit the ground running yesterday with hot water baths, squid, dissection tools, about a gazillion different chemicals including hydrochloric acid, etc… on the little sleep of a toddler parent. By the time my lunch period rolled around I just sat in my room alone and enjoyed the peace and quiet.
One of the toughest things for me right now is handling all the noise, talking, and questions from my work life because as a teacher I am almost always “on” and then coming home to more talking and questions from both the Munchkin and the Mr. who gets up around 6:00pm to start his day. I am treasuring the quiet that comes when the Mr. is at work and the Munchkin is in bed and Babci is doing her thing. I never thought I would be talking too much but alas I have hit my threshold. But I digress, that’s not what this entry is really about.
When I picked up the Munchkin from her sitter yesterday I tried to bribe her with “Bubble Guppies” because I was just drained. I wanted to sit on the couch and watch TV but of course last night she wasn’t falling for it. The first time the mention of “Bubble Guppies” hasn’t turned her into an excited lunatic who just plopped down wherever she was to watch…of all days. I suppose this really is still my fault since I just showed her really how to paint using water colors and for 3 days straight she has asked to sit and paint but last night I did not want to do any such thing. Last night I wanted to just veg but toddlers seem to be well versed in what torture they need to inflict at just the right time to be the most effective. I’m not sure why we need Guantanamo Bay when we could just send in an army of toddlers. Between the incessant “why” and the constant emotional swing any prisoner would crack I bet.
Luckily the Mr. came to the rescue and sat with her while I watched an episode of “The Librarians” and just chilled for a little bit. Needless to say it was not the finest hour of my parenting; I think dinner was a left over tuna hoagie, some dry broccoli slaw and milk.
And then juxtapose it with today. I got a good night’s sleep and the weather was beautiful (we currently have a nasty tease of spring in my neck of the woods) so I didn’t want to go to the gym and be stuck inside. I decided I would pick the Munchkin up from her sitter’s and go to the nearby nature park for some fresh air and walking around. I asked her if she wanted to pretend to be NatureCat (currently MY favorite kids show) and she agreed. We got there and spent approximately an hour sitting on the ground and digging in the soil and pulling out rocks. We also checked out the river that flows by the park. We got a little wet and a lot dirty but there was no agenda, there was no plan, there was no activity. It was just her and I being outside and enjoying the afternoon. I didn’t get a workout in for the body but I definitely got one for the soul.
At one point when we were sitting there I was struck at how perfect the moment was; not because it was anything special, not because I was on my parenting “A” game (because with a toddler I’m not entirely sure what that is), but because we just were. Especially after the rough time I (and by extension her because it does rub off on them) had the night before I just sat and enjoyed the time with her. I even picked up one of the rocks (I was trying to explain to her erosion) and kept it to remind me that there will be bad days in life but there will always be good days generally with the next sunrise, and to a certain extent you can’t appreciate the good if you don’t know what it feels like when it’s bad.
“Tomorrow is fresh with no mistakes in it yet” as Anne Shirley would say.