One of the things that I've learned since becoming old - er - a parent is that the progress into parenthood teaches us a lot about ourselves. I thought I knew a lot about myself before (I even had a University boyfriend who told me I knew myself better than anyone he'd ever met -- I think he was kindly telling me I was self-centered!?) -- Anyhow. Nope. He was wrong. Turns out there were a few very key elements of my character to which I was totally and completely ignorant. More to the point, there is one MAJOR characteristic that has become very painfully evident only since the birth of my marvelous e. Shall I elaborate?
You see, before e, I wasn't aware exactly how much I needed to be one hundred percent in control. I never knew how expansive my need for control was. Seriously. I knew this was a trait of mine, in there somewhere, relatively dormant and benign. Once I even admitted that it was there -- I was getting my wisdom teeth pulled and the good ol' Dentist said he was 'putting me under' and to count back from ten, and I was busily telling him that his putting me to sleep would not work because I was a woman and as such I needed complete control and no amount of drugs would -- zzzzzzz --- snorrrrreee -- However, even then, I didn't really know exactly what control meant or at least how it manifested in me.
That is until e.
It's kind of like the bible, except not at all. There was my life Before e. And then there is now my life After e.
One would think life would be very similar before and after on all accounts except for this new person being a very significant part of it now...but no, she has changed me -- or maybe just shined a really large magnifying mirror at me -- because every day something happens and I realize I. am. not. in. control. at. all. And this fact really really bothers me.
I am sure you wonder how such a cute and adorable little innocent baby girl could be so adept at humbling my sorry self! Well, let me tell you! For starters, her eating (which, if you follow my blog you know there is many a post weaved in here about my trials and tribulations with e's eating). Seems she was born without interest in food. Not sure how this could have happened considering her father and I are both major food lovers...But alas, from a very early age, feeding this child has been nothing short of a test of patience. EVERY time. And sometimes, like today for instance, I just do not have the patience. My want for control makes me want to sit down with whatever healthy dish I choose and simply feed it to her. What actually happens is I have about six different options from the varying food groups, and she picks, if I am lucky, one item. And which food she chooses to like and dislike depends on the day.
It. is. enough. to. make. my. head. spin. exorcist style.
And from what I hear, this frustrating character trait is not unique to her. Other children do this too!!!
Why did nobody tell me!!!???
Not only does food disinterest her, she also hates milk. And she is not all that fond of formula. So getting the bare minimum of what she needs nutritionally in a day is beyond difficult. And of course, what makes it all that more frustrating: I have no control. e decides. Yup. If she does not want it, I cannot make her. So there. Did you see her sticking her tongue out at me there? Oh soon enough I am sure!
Another example of her testing me, and my frustration level rising, is right now: she is supposed to be having her daily afternoon nap. Yup. The one I NEED. MY BREAK. If you listen closely, you can hear her; she is playing her mobile, singing along, and playing with her doll. She may even be standing and throwing her soothers over the edge just to see and hear them land on the floor. Yup. That's one hitting the floor now. Give her five minutes and she will be crying for me. She can do this for a good hour, I've learned. And she won't fall to sleep. This is a new thing, too. It started about three days ago. She has decided she no longer needs her afternoon nap! And again. I have no control. I cannot make her sleep! Sigh.
I am adding this to the list known as the Motherhood Conspiracy (that is the LONG list of things that no mother bothered to tell me before I decided I was apt and able enough to have my very own child): no matter how hard we try, or how savvy a parent we are, we really aren't in charge here. Not really. We can think we're awesome: we've got the routine, the daily rhythm, and baby is following suit nicely; we've broken the bad habits, sat idly, though it was difficult, while baby cried and insisted she was not tired...We were victorious! Until today. Because another thing mothers don't tell us -- babies are inconsistent. And once we've managed to fix one thing, or manipulate it the way we want it, something else happens and we're again humbled, stumped, maybe even annoyed.
My favourite is the whole sleep thing. You see, in my family, it truly is a sign of superb parenting if your child sleeps through the night. Never mind a hungry child, nightmares, teething, what-have-you, I was not a good mother until my child slept through the night. And to me? I was also not in control of that. Nope. e told me when she was ready to sleep through -- in turn, letting me finally sleep through. Wasn't that nice of her? To let me get almost seven hours in a row? Pretty altruistic, indeed! Let me tell you how amazing I felt the first night I slept through. Nothing can describe. Nothing.
Anyhow, enough ranting. e is awesome. But as a mother who believes in my child's individuality and unique needs, I have come to learn that I will never again be in control. Of my life. Or her. And I am not sure I will ever really be one with this fact. Everyday I vow to not let her eating bother me. Or get frustrated when after an hour or more she is still not napping -- because after all, she may just not be hungry or tired -- and she is a human with certain tastes and preferences, after all! But man oh man, it truly is a daily test trying to fight my innate and ever prevalent need to be in control.
Oh. That's her crying. Time to go get her out of her crib, because indeed, today, she is not tired and not in need of her nap.
boo. and deep breath.
p.s. I am sure that I will be far more humbled in twelve years and my e enters her teen years...If she's anything like me -- control will be an intangible concept I will have to let go of fully. I cannot wait *shutters.