Yesterday started off like so many days before….I was awakened by the sweet sounds off the tiny one beckoning for me in her irresistible little sing-song-y voice: “Moooom-eeeeeee…. Moooom-eeeeeee… Moooom-eeeeeee… Moooom-eeeeeee.” This is one thing that never fails to make me smile. It is so darn delightful to know that my baby wants me so badly (plus it’s usually first thing in the morning and nothing crappy has happened yet). So anyway the delightfulness of the beckoning is quickly surpassed by the excited jumping up and down and squeals of joy that are unleashed when I open her bedroom door. I scoop her up and she wraps her arms and legs around me like the sweet little octopus that she is and squeezes me as if she is scared that I might somehow escape before she has a chance to plant a slobbery kiss right on my lips. These are the moments that I savor. This, my friends, is why I wanted a baby…pure, unadulterated joy in the moment of just being a mama.
But (and there’s always one of those) there are also moments that I don’t savor. In fact, there are some moments that are downright irritating and frustrating, and it takes every effort to maintain my sweet mama voice rather than screaming at the top of my lungs. Here are a few of the moments that I didn’t savor yesterday:
- Time for breakfast. I cooked breakfast (waffles, eggs, toast) for my tiny one. Cut up grapes to go with breakfast. She ate. She finished. I felt pretty accomplished because she ate a pretty decent amount of breakfast. So, in the midst of cleaning up the
messdisaster that was once a kitchen she informs me that she wants a pretzel. I muster up all of my mama sweetness and kindly tell her, “No sweetie. You don’t need a pretzel. You just ate breakfast.” She promptly begins to wail. I finally give in…thinking to myself, “Here have the stupid pretzel and PLEASE stop crying!” I caved. I wasn’t happy about that…not gonna savor it.
- Time for lunch. I may have forgotten to mention that my tiny one is THE. PICKIEST. EATER. EVER. Here are the things she will eat: cheerios, cottage cheese, eggs, bread, waffles, nutra-grain bars, peas, cheese puffs, teddy grahams, apples, grapes, strawberries, peaches, chips, French fries, spaghetti, pretzels, and maybe a few more things, but that’s pretty much it. Meal times are ALWAYS irritating. She just won’t eat. I try to put something new on her plate, and she picks it up and hands it right back. I try to force her to taste something new by putting a little on her lips, and she cries like I just told her I was going to run away and never come back. I am really at a loss on this one. I don’t know how to get my tiny one (not kidding…I mean tiny…5th percentile on the growth chart) to eat. So yesterday after she refused to taste squash and onions, and potatoes I went back to the old stand bys: black eyed peas, and cottage cheese. No go. She wouldn’t even eat that. Her lunch = cheese puffs (baked and all natural, but still…cheese puffs). For this I feel like I deserve the “mom of the century” award, but again, I’m not gonna savor that moment.
- Time for nap. My tiny one’s typical nap ranges from 2.5 to 3 hours in length. Yesterday's nap = infinitesimally small…45 minutes. Total. Unfortunately way to short for me to savor.
- Time to run errands. We ended up in Wal-mart, and the tiny one was doing GREAT. She was sitting nicely in the seat of the buggy (protected, of course, by the food encrusted buggy cover) eating her o’s (cheerios) from that handy little cup that she can stick her hand into get some out without spilling them all if she dumps it over. Except for this one little problem – my tiny one is “that kid.” Yeah. The kid who discovers that if she holds the cup upside down with her precious little hand in it just right it will dump out all of the cereal. And what better time to display this little trick than in the middle of the incredibly crowded Father’s Day card aisle where all the “I’m-already-grumpy-because-I-waited-til-the-last-minute-and-can’t-find-a-frikkin’-card-I-like” shoppers have gathered? And so she does her trick and people look (stare), some chuckle a little, some give me the “I-hope-you-are-going-to-clean-that-up” look. And in case you are wondering…We quickly left that aisle, and NO, I didn’t clean it up (although I did scoot the majority of them under the shelf so nobody would squish them). Again, not going to savor that moment.
- Time for dinner. Are you noticing a trend? Again, I am forced to play the game of offering new food, tiny one giving it back, offering food I know she likes, tiny one won’t eat it. Dinner consisted of a few bites of cottage cheese and ½ of a strawberry. Plus 3 minutes of tears over the fact that I would not give her an oatmeal raisin cookie even though she saw them and obviously when she sees something she wants she should be able to have it. Duh mama! I’m usually a sucker for crying, but this time I held my ground because it was just one of those days yesterday, and I couldn’t take anymore. I put her down and let her cry as I walked away. Again, not going to savor that moment.
- Time for bath. Tiny one loves taking a bath, so it is usually a great time for all involved. And that’s good because the only people involved are mama and the tiny one most nights. Besides, who doesn’t love to wrap up the day with a fun bath? So tonight was no different. Except that it was. Because I was in a grumpy mood. Tiny one was doing what tiny ones do…wiggling all around as I was trying to undress her for the bath, scooting to the faaaaaaar side of the tub so that I had to basically get in the bath with her to reach her, refusing to take her nightly medication (the same medication that she has taken every day since she was 6 months old…she knows the drill), playing twister with me as I tried to put on her diaper and dress her. My tiny one was simply being her silly little aggravating tiny self, and it was grating on my nerves. Where was the fun, silly mama who normally has as much fun as the tiny one during the nightly bath time rituals? I could feel my exasperation welling up, and no doubt, my tiny one knew something was up with mama. Again, not going to savor the guilt I felt in that moment.
But here is what I am going to savor:
As I wordlessly sat my tiny one in my lap for the 5th time after getting her dressed so that I could once again attempt to dry her hair she looked up at me with those beautiful, big blue eyes and said, “Ma-muh.” And she patted me on the arm. Then she lifted up the sleeve of my shirt and kissed my arm. I turned off the blow dryer and just looked at her in awe. She didn’t stop. She kissed both arms several times. Then she kissed my neck and my lips and finished her little display of affection with another “Ma-muh” and a pat on the arm before she laid her precious little head on my chest so I could finish drying her hair. I dried her hair through my tears. I already felt guilty for not being my usual “sweet mama self” during bath time, but my tiny one’s display of affection just multiplied my guilt by oh I don't know....infinity. So why am I going to savor this ultimate guilty feeling? Because I feel like it was God’s little reminder to me that I am the only mama my tiny one has ever known. She doesn’t have anything to compare me to…but me. I don’t have to live up to anyone else’s expectations. I simply have to offer her the best of me each and every day. And last night she proved to me that even when I don’t offer her the very best of me she still loves me. A whole bunch. And that is what I will savor.