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She’s taking the driver’s seat

Picture 673

Following a post I read today, loved and re-blogged (The Uninfluenced Mummy by lovelifeandlunacy), I’m challenging myself this weekend to let my little preschooler take the lead. That post was a breath of fresh air reminding me how the need to keep up with the Joneses doesn’t stop even in parenting. That’s probably why parents tend to keep comparing sleeping- through- the- night stories, who’s toilet trained before whom, which child has a bigger, better birthday party, who has a well behaved child and who has a constantly tantruming toddler…and it’s so subtle, we probably don’t even know it’s happening.

And couldn’t that be where most of the parenting frustrations come from? The need to be the best, when all the little ones want is us and our best. All they want is quality time playing and being attentive to them. They do not need to be spruced in their best outfits, posing for pretty pictures, being rushed from activity to activity just to give them the best. Whose benefit is it for? Us or them?

I want Miss Sunshine to have the best of the world but more than that I want her to have the best of me and the best of life through her experiences. So that means, relaxing a little bit and letting her take the lead. Following her cues. Letting her be…letting go. Yes, I’m her mama, I may be older and somewhat wiser, but in the long run she is and will always be the expert of herself. That doesn’t mean letting go of the big decisions; it just means I want to try and live like a child in a way, and Miss S is the best person who can teach me that. It’s time to stop, smell the roses and water her trees… stop, look at the butterflies with wonder…stop and notice every little thing we pass on the road as we walk…stop and just let things be without having a plan for every little thing…stop and question whatever seizes my imagination in this great big world…stop, giggle and sing at the top of my voice.

I’m following you Miss S…lead the way. This will be the start of more Yes and less No

Uninfluenced mummy…thank you!

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Reflecting on the past three years

The more things change, the more they remain the same…

My precious girl,
It feels like we’ve spent a lifetime together because I can hardly remember a time without you. And as I sit here I realize even though you’re growing older and so much has changed, a lot remains the same. Being almost 3 means you’re more fluent and vocal, more independent and strong willed, toilet trained, ready for school and you sleep easily through the night. And something new that amazed me about a week ago was watching you draw your 1st person. Looking at that picture makes me smile so much because it shows me how you’re steadily growing and learning so much every single minute.

Yet what amazes me even more is how many things remain the same as you grow:

I thought by the time you were this age I’d know more, be an expert on parenting…but what I’ve discovered is that even as you grow, there’s more to learn, more challenges to face, more growth. You’re growing daily, changing daily so I’m getting to know a little new part of you every day. So I’m sure, even when you’re 12, I’ll still feel the ‘newness’ of parenting.

Separation anxiety- thought we were through with that whole phase and then a couple of months ago, there it was again. One day I was getting ready to go to work and you insisted you didn’t want me to leave…and that became your usual mantra whenever I was leaving for work. For a few weeks it was so heart wrenching leaving you, it felt like we were back to a year ago. It’s so easy to forget the past until it happens again. Things are back to normal now but what keeps me going even during the periods of separation anxiety is the thought that you don’t want me to leave just because you love me and want to be with me. And as long as I’ve prepared you and you know I’ll come back, you will always get through this.

Your cries still have the power to break me. They still pierce me. It’s taken a lot of adjustment to accept that it’s okay and healthy for you to cry. To accept that not wanting you to cry is more about how I grew up, in an age when children were encouraged not to cry or told to ‘stop crying.’ I’m still learning to hold you as you cry and let you feel and let out whatever emotions you’re feeling without trying to distract you or ‘make you happy.’ I’m learning to accept responsibility for how I feel when you cry as opposed to unconsciously making you feel guilty for my helplessness in that situation. I want you to grow up knowing that it’s okay for you to feel any emotion, so as to deal with it and express it healthily.

When you were younger, you were sick a lot and you falling sick became one of my greatest fears. That hasn’t changed at all. In fact, I need to work on that. As a result of the constant sickness during your infancy, how much I love you and how helpless I felt each time you were sick or we were in hospital, each time you have even a minor flu or a recurrence of any of your previous symptoms, I’m helpless once again. My life stops, at least mentally. I go through the motions but internally I’m just suffering, trying to protect you, even when you don’t need protecting. I know that’s about me. All that traumatized me and I need to deal with that so I don’t project my powerlessness to you.

I love you so so much, more every day. I didn’t know that was possible but when I see you in the morning, watch you sleep at night, I’m still amazed that you are mine. I want you to know that I mean it when I tell you are such a special gift to me and it is an honour to be given the job to be your mama.

Your love, your warmth,your sensitivity; just grows in leaps and bounds. You have a heart of gold my Sunshine and that hasn’t changed, it just keeps growing.

You still love gymnastics and reading, but you’ve found time to nurture more passions- dancing, singing, gardening… Guess that’s why all you want this birthday is a tree. It always strikes me how you’re inherently your own person, developing interests that aren’t necessarily mine. I have little or no interest in nature but you love trees and animals. I cannot even somersault but you taught yourself that and much more. I hope I’ll always help you be the best version of yourself and not just a copy- cat version of anyone else. I love you just as you are.

You still make the biggest difference in my life. Time hasn’t changed that, I doubt it ever will. You made a difference when you were born, you still make a difference in My life. You changed and are still changing my world.

Even now, when you sleep, you want to hold my hand. That is the best feeling. Your little hand wrapped around one finger, or part of my hand. That is enough to make my day.

You still love giraffes. And you’ve added rabbits and flamingos to your animal loves.

I know there is still so much more I can’t remember right now, but the most important thing, you still are and will always be my precious baby, my Sunshine, my adorable girl and my blessing.

Happy Birthday Eve my love

I love you, always and forever

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I’m still learning

The little miss is now almost 3 years old, yet the more I think I know I realize there’s so much more to learn. So much more growth, possibly more growth for me 🙂

Today, I lost my cool, I may not have shouted but internally I lost control. Sunshine lied to me and I kept asking her to just tell me the truth. I kept getting frustrated that she couldn’t say the truth and stuck to her ‘truth’. That should not be a big deal, she is still so young after all, she cannot be perfect, but for me to take it so personally! I felt like she was letting go of all the values I’m trying to inculcate in her. And that’s not true at all because whenever I look at her I’m amazed at how centered and whole she is. She is already the best she can be at her age, and I am always so proud of the girl she is. So, for me to have felt so frustrated today…that definitely wasn’t about her, it was about me. Her tiny lie was just a trigger for me and I got hurt because I was already worn out and overwhelmed, so that was just the last straw.

I’m always talking about self- care, especially for mums; because if you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot take care of another. But often it’s hard to practice what you preach. When you’re tired, overwhelmed, worn out, stressed or sleep deprived, you start operating from the emotional part of your brain as opposed to your rational part, so all your decisions and actions, will not be the best. And it’s so easy at this point to make any small mole hill a mountain.

After taking a moment today, I acknowledged that my frustration was not about Miss Sunshine or her ‘half- truth’, I was just worn out because of a series of late nights, poor sleep and a whole week without taking time to do things that nurture me. I’ve neglected nourishing me-time and that’s what brought me to this point. So, see why I’m the one who’s still learning? I have to keep reminding myself that for me to be the best me and best mum to my Sunshine, I need to take care of myself. The only way she’ll also know how to take care of herself is by modelling what I do.

Additionally, being overwhelmed made me make today about me. Why did I need her to tell the truth so badly? Probably so I could affirm that I’m bringing her up to be honest. But that’s about me, and that’s what made me keep asking her over and over again. If I was more relaxed and calm, I would have approached it in a different way and because I wouldn’t have internalized any hurt, I would have shown her what I wanted to teach her in a different way. When we’re reacting from our emotions, we forget that children are their own persons and we shouldn’t be controlling them but guiding them. and just like us, they do have flaws, and that’s perfectly okay.

And because there’s no time like the present, I’ve taken some time out today to refresh and re- energize, and that will be a priority every day. My Sunshine, once again I apologize for making a big deal out of nothing. Thanks for being part of my growth process, for teaching me something new each and every day. Remember, you make a difference in MY world.

Love you sunshine!