A lot of the things people warned us about haven't really happened. You're happy, giggly, hilarious, fun, exciting, brave and adventurous and nearly every minute with you is wonderful beyond words! However, there are times... every now and then... where... Hmmm, how should I say this?
You can be very frustrating.
Now don't get me wrong, we spend the majority of our time with you laughing our tails off or commenting on how completely amazing you are in every single way! But sometimes you can be extremely trying on your poor mom and dad's patience. Currently, you are 13 months old; far away from the terrible twos. However, you have shown yourself to be quite advanced and sometimes I think maybe you're practicing your craft so you're extra good at it by your next birthday. I have no doubt AT ALL that you will succeed beyond our wildest fears!
What sorts of things do you do to frustrate us?
1. You sleep through the night right now in the sense that you only get up once (somewhere between 4:00 and 6:00 am) wanting a bit of milk before you go back to sleep (until you get up for the day sometime around 8:30ish). Usually, you drift back to sleep after that milk infusion in less than 10 minutes, but LATELY... you've been getting your milk and then telling me all about it through the baby monitor for upwards of an hour and a half or longer. On the weekends it isn't such a big deal because even if you stay up between 4:30 and 6:00 am, I can at least get a little extra shut-eye between 6:00 and 8:30 when you finally get up. On the weekdays, this is a completely different story. When you have been waking up at 4:30 for your bottle and not getting back to sleep until 6:00, that means that I'm up for the day at 4:30 am because I have to be at work by 7:00. No time to for extra shut-eye for me! Believe me, I've tried sleeping through baby-babblin' and your poor mama just can't do it! It's so frustrating to think you're asleep because you've been quiet for the last 15 minutes, start drifting off to sleep myself, and then hear you shriek, "DADA!!!!!!!!!" (followed by giggles). Honestly, it's as adorable as it is frustrating, but I'd be willing to give up the cuteness for a couple more hours of sleep. You're cute enough during the waking hours!
2. You are a very good eater (much like your mom and dad). You love shoving fistfuls of bananas into your mouth. You are usually pretty good about trying new things, but those things don't always stay in your mouth. Your tongue turns into a little backhoe when something you're not entirely certain about lands on it; shoving the mouthful of food out from where it came and landing all over your clothes, the table, the floor... me. Even things that you tried and liked the day before get the backhoe treatment if you're not feeling them RIGHT THEN! It's so frustrating when we try to feed you and you spit everything out! Then, when you're getting frustrated with the process, you start grabbing your plate in an attempt to dump the contents all over the place, which leads to me saying, "no no!!" and you getting mad that I told you no so you grab a fistful of food and drop it all over the table. Sigh...
3. When you wake up for the day you are happy, chipper, giggly, just all-around the bestest little baby in the history of the world! From that moment on, it slowly progresses downhill as you get whinier and crabbier until it is FINALLY (thank heavens!!!) time for your nap! Then, you take your nap, wake up, and start the whole cycle again until it's time for bed. The hour or two after you get up is some of my favorite time with you because you are HILARIOUS! Those whiny and crabby times are a lot less fun. You're finally at the age where you're aware enough to know what you want, but not quite able to convey your meaning to us so we can do something about it. So, basically, we just run around like maniacs trying all sorts of things to make you happy until it is finally time for you to go to sleep. Sometimes we succeed, many times we don't. I'm pretty sure you're smack-dab in the middle of a growth spurt because all of a sudden you feel like you weigh 10 lbs more than you did last week. If I gained 10 lbs in a week, I'd be whiny and crabby, too! I can't really fault you for any of it, but it IS very frustrating.
4. You're also going through a phase right now where you want to be held and put down on the ground... simultaneously. You can't figure out why we can't get this right! "Pick me up, put me down, pick me up, put me down, pick me up AND put me down AT THE SAME TIME GUYS!!!" If we don't comply with this seemingly impossible demand, you get upset. Someday I will teach you the concept of "mutual exclusivity" but until then, I'll just have to try not to get frustrated when you demand such things. (P.S. It's really hard, but I'm trying.)
5. Putting you in the car seat right now is TORTURE for all of us. You just cannot handle being confined to ANYTHING right now. You are constantly on the move and anything that keeps you from running around at half the speed of light is deemed evil and worthy of shrieking screams. We start to put you in the car seat and you begin to wail, kick, arch your back, do anything possible to make it nearly impossible for us to restrain you properly. Once you're in the seat, you voice your displeasure at the tightening of the straps in such a way that people walking by must be certain we are killing you. Then, when you're finally strapped in and we're on our way to our destination, you continue your battery of whines and yelps until we either get to where we're going, or you've finally accepted your fate. You love being out and about, but I've learned that I can really only do about one or two locations in an hour because any more than that leaves both of us incredibly annoyed and frustrated with each other. I can't wait until you're old enough to stop hating that thing. I just hope there IS an "old enough" phase because you're going to be in that thing until you get married if it means you're safer in the car. I mean it, young lady.
6. Then, when you're in the car seat and we're out and about you THROW ALL OF YOUR TOYS off to the side where you can't reach them! After successfully ridding yourself of all of the toys, you decide you want them all back again. I hate to break it to you kiddo... but I'm NOT going to start pulling the car over to play toy-fetch with you every five seconds! Eventually you will learn that throwing your stuff means you don't get to have it anymore. (When will you learn this, by the way? I want to start counting down the days...)
7. Changing your diaper or clothing is about half tolerable and half annoying. Sometimes you're totally fine with letting us do what we need to do and other times it's like trying to dress a caffeinated Tasmanian devil. You do realize if you would just LAY THERE QUIETLY I could get this outfit/diaper on you in half of the time and you could run off and play more quickly, right??? RIGHT??? WHY DON'T YOU REALIZE THIS??? I'm just trying to help you!
There are other frustrating things, I'm sure, that I just don't remember at the moment. Right now, I'm just a little bit tired from that thing I mentioned in #1 up there (I got to sleep around midnight and you woke up at 4:30. You didn't get back to sleep until after I left for work. Mama doesn't function well on 4 and a half hours of sleep, baby.) But honestly, these things aren't that bad in the grand scheme of things and I do try very hard not to get frustrated with you outwardly because you're just a baby and these are all normal baby things. Still, you'd have to be made of metal and gears not to get a little frustrated now and then as a parent, right?
It's all a matter of putting it into perspective.
I say this because I am all too often reminded of how important the art of putting things into perspective can be.
This morning as I was perusing a bit of social networking while working the Reference Desk I saw two different posts from two different people I know from two different parts of my life. They are different in nearly every single way, except they shared the same agony. They had each lost a niece or a nephew yesterday. They each had a small and innocent member of their family pass away and they will never see those sweet little babies ever again. One of the babies had been born very prematurely, lived for 9 days, then passed away. The other was a three year old little girl who had cancer and succumbed to her illness. As I read these posts I was reminded that I had planned to write a blog post about how frustrating you could be at times and, immediately, felt guilty. I was reminded, in that instant, of all of the families out there who would give anything to have those frustrating moments back because it meant the nightmare of losing their babies wasn't a reality. That's when I decided to put it all into perspective.
You have been such a blessing in my life that I can't even put into words how lost I would be without you. If going days without sleep or getting covered in half-chewed rice and peas means I still have you in my life, then I will consciously make the connection between feelings of frustration and the blessing of even having you in the first place. When you get older and I feel like I'm about to lose my mind because you simply will not listen to me, I will remind myself that you and your little non-listening ears are still around for me to hug and whisper sweet nothings into. Through every little annoyance and frustration, I will do my best to engage you with a thankful heart because you are perfectly mine and I still have you.
Similarly, when you're a teenager and everything we do and say to you drives you up the wall, try to remember, through your frustration and anger, that parents don't last forever. Let's all be blessed and grateful for every day we have together as a family. I love you!