For the last two nights, bedtime has been a three hour plus marathon of crying and requests and “I need to ask you something…”
Bed time has been a struggle with the kid off and on since she was born. We got a rhythm once and it was so smooth for a while. And now every night seems like another test for me. (Especially the one or two nights a week that my husband is away on business, and the worst nights always seem to be when he’s busy into the evening or in a different time zone).
Last night was three hours so today I took things more slowly. We talked, we did an activity together, she had a bath and sat on the potty, she had her snack and we read three stories. I said goodnight.
And the next three hours was a battle – she wanted another snack, she wanted to go on the potty, she needed another blanket or a different toy. Three hours of me getting irritated and trying not to show her that it was happening. Trying not to rush her on the potty while getting annoyed.
My kid, we usually put her to bed early because she wakes up early. She wakes anywhere from 5:30 to 6:30, sometimes as late as 7. She doesn’t nap. She hasn’t napped since she was just under a year old. Our solution to the lack of napping and the early waking was to put her to bed around 5:30 or 6 pm. Now she’s waking early, she’s not napping and we’re starting bedtime at 6 and she’s not going to sleep until after 9.
She’s been a challenge to deal with all over the place lately. She fights at meals, she draws on walls, she continues doing whatever it is that I’ve just asked her to stop doing. The answer is always ‘but I want to.’ Last week she cut her hair. I thought I had a little more time before that happened.
I was a challenge for my mother, and my husband was a challenge for his mother. We earned this little girl. She’s a bright star – so smart – but she’s got attitude. She’s going to be a strong, brave, proud woman, but she’s a hell of a toddler.
Here in Ottawa, as in most parts of Canada, we have quite the weather. Last year it seems that school buses were cancelled almost once a week during the winter because of freezing rain. Taking the bus in to work can be an interesting experience in the winter months. Freezing winds, snowstorms, freezing rain, ice.
Getting up in the dark and walking through the freezing cold to get the bus, going to work in an office with no windows, it wore me down. The winter was part of my getting burned out. The commute, the missing time with my daughter.
I made a pitch to my bosses, asking them to allow me to work part time from home. They said no. It was my last attempt to stay in that job with that team. That made the decision for me.
The right to work from home, telecommuting, seems like something that employers in Canada need to take another look at. Happier employees that, thanks to technology, can have full access to files and databases, can be more productive, healthier. Studies show that people who work from home might actually work longer hours.
What I’ve found since I left my job is that there are few or no resources for me to connect with companies that are willing to hire me as a telecommuter. There are few or no resources for me to connect with other people who work from home. I need connections and ideas and resources.
My kid is smart. She’s always been one step ahead. She reminds her grandmother of her daddy who was gifted. She is so smart and such a great thinker (and so tall) that sometimes it’s easy to forget she’s not even 3 years old.
When we enrolled her in preschool she was excited. She loves learning and she was excited to be a big kid. She went once a week. Her first day was great, her second day was fine, then on the third week we were told that she started crying in the middle of the morning, and the same thing happened the fourth week.
Last week, the fifth week, she woke up telling me she didn’t want to go to preschool and she cried and cried.
I’ve been getting the impression that she doesn’t really play with any of the other kids at preschool. That she does the crafts and circle time, but when it comes to playing she’s always on her own.
She’s so smart and so grown up in every way, except socially. They say gifted kids often prefer the company of adults, and this seems to be our situation.
This morning, the sixth week, I made the decision to just not take her in. We’re dropping out of preschool. (Actually, she’s following in my footsteps, I dropped out of preschool too).
I am declaring her not ready and setting our sights on trying again later.
I was not excited to be having a daughter when we found out our baby was a girl. I went through a lot growing up as a girl and even my experience was not that bad compared to a lot of the stories I hear now. I was overweight and awkward and shy and also probably too smart to be cool, but I guess nobody else really cared enough about me to bully me.
I had a small group of friends, I had some good teachers, I got through and everything after was much, much better.
I will always worry – especially now that my daughter has been told at preschool that she can’t play with “boy” toys and she’s cried in dance class because she was scared, but she can’t tell me why.
But the more I read about other mothers’ experiences and the more I hear about what boys have to go through, I don’t think it would have been easier at all.
Girls can wear pants, or not.
Girls can wear nail polish, or not.
My kid can go to her skating lessons in a hockey shirt with hockey skates and no one says a word.
But imagine if I had a son who chose figure skates. Or wanted to wear a skirt or wanted to paint his nails.
There would always be this moment of hesitation, this moment of ‘am I hurting him by letting him be who he wants to be’ that I won’t have with my girl.
It doesn’t matter what she chooses to wear or how she chooses to carry herself, it doesn’t matter who she chooses as a partner or what she picks as her career, she’ll be who she’ll be and the world will not bother her for it. Not as much, anyway, in the end.
This afternoon I took the kid to the park. It was a beautiful sunny day and fall is fleeting.
When we got there, there were four older kids playing in the park already and she was nervous about joining them. Suddenly one of the boys saw her and said “we won’t hurt her.”
“What did he say Mama?”
“He said they won’t bother you.”
And with that she went out with her sand toys and started digging. She climbed the structure and went down the slide. Then she came and grabbed my hand and we took a walk down the path into the trees.
As she ran in front of me, chasing leaves and shouting at me to follow her, I took out my phone and took some pictures. Looking at the pictures tonight I am astonished.
Who is this little girl and where did my baby go?
When I found out I was pregnant I envisioned my child calling me Mommy (or Mummy) and then settling on Mom when they got older.
When my daughter started calling me Mama I was surprised, it was unexpected.
Now I have grown to love being Mama. I love the way she says it as much as I love when I ask her for a hug and she gets a big smile on her face and says yes.
It’s a musical word.
Some days I seem to be her biggest enemy and some days I’m everything to her. I guess it will always be this way.
She models me, does what I do and does things like I do. When she bakes in her play kitchen she puts her toy laptop on the table because that’s where I get my recipes from. When she sits at my desk:
It’s a lot to get used to, someone watching what I do and listening to me talk and taking everything in.
Sometimes when she asks me a direct question about something I probably shouldn’t have said I realize just how closely she’s listening.
All the unexpected things coming from being a mama.
The RCMP is investigating, Parliament is debating, but it’s all a little late for intervening in the brutal bullying Amanda Todd faced in her life.
This girl was berated from the time she was 12 and by the time she was 17 she felt totally worthless and never thought she would escape.
In a video the teenager describes the constant harassment, threats, and a physical assault offline. After she tried to kill herself she says people harassed her for not being dead. Now that she’s succeeded in dying there are still people online posting nasty, vulgar things about her.
This is the part I can’t wrap my head around. When you’ve been attacking this person over and over again and they kill themselves, which is what you were taunting them to do, even then you can’t let them be in peace?
Do we actually live in a world with so many people who push a person to death and then rejoice in it?
When I went back to work at the end of my leave we got very, very lucky with our daycare. Our kid was treated very well and she loved going to the care provider’s home. She got along with the other children there and she thrived. It made things so much easier.
When I left my job in May part of the reason was that it was getting harder and harder to see so little of my daughter. The harder it was to be at work, the more difficult it was to make the sacrifice.
So I quit and we took her out of daycare and then I started doing the most difficult job I’ve ever done – Being wholly responsible for this little girl who can walk and talk and argue and form her own opinions and has a future in kicking ass and taking names.
Every day brings it’s own little tests and it’s own special moments.
Last night she had a bit of a breakdown. She asked for me and then she cried and cried and told me that she didn’t want to go to preschool that she wants to go to daycare and she misses her daycare provider and that her daycare provider misses her and loves her.
It has been months since she’s mentioned the caregiver, and I had planned to call her and visit sometimes but it just hadn’t happened. Now I held a crying girl in my arms who was begging me to go and see her friend. I promised her we would call in the morning.
When we did and the kid heard her voice a huge smile lit up her face. Our caregiver recognized my voice right away and we arranged a visit for later in the morning. When we arrived and she popped her head out of the door the kid ran right into a hug. They talked and we talked and she laughed and they laughed together. I didn’t realize how much I had missed her too.
We talked about maybe sending the kid back for one day a week and she told me that my daughter is part of her family and will always be welcome in her home. That is a link that I want to preserve for her.
One of my biggest fears when I found out I was having a daughter was that she would turn out like me. Shy and unsure of herself through her developing years, depressed as a teenager, stupid with money and food, thinking too much about all the hard things.
I was never a smiler. My face defaults into this almost lack of emotion. I have spent a lot of time feeling sad.
My kid? She’s happy. She’s a smiler. She gets excited.
She’s always surprising me with her bravery and her willingness to dive in to new things.
She gets excited about preschool as soon as she wakes up and actually tried to convince me that Friday was preschool day. Except the past two weeks she’s cried at some point in the morning after I drop her off.
Today she woke me up and asked if it was dance class day. She wore her leotard all day. She was very excited to get into the room once we got to the community centre. And then they started doing their warm ups and stretches.
Suddenly through the window I saw her face fall. Something was wrong. She looked on the verge of tears. It went away and she carried on, but then I saw it again. I went down to the doors, I smiled and waved but suddenly there it was – tears streaming down her face.
I didn’t wait, I was in the room before she could ask for me. I hugged her close and picked her up and told her everything was okay. We got her calmed down with a sticker from the teacher. Suddenly they pulled out hula hoops and she was smiling and decided to go back in, but almost as soon as she was in she was out.
She couldn’t tell me what had happened. I asked her a couple of times after we left and she still couldn’t tell me. All she will say is that something scared her.
I question my decision to go into that room. To not wait for the teacher to try and calm her before I broke in. I don’t know if that was the “right” thing to do. I still don’t know.
I do, however, know that if there’s one thing that consistently makes me happy it’s my kid. When she cries, I go running.