Sunday, August 14, 2011

Band-Aid Girl vs. Mommy

Under one of these band-aids lies an actual booboo. Any guesses?

I'm doing my best over here to throw control to the wind, thanks to the intensive program of personal growth my two-year-old had taken it upon herself to spearhead. I can generally gauge my capacity for this monumental undertaking on any given day by the lessons she deems appropriate.

Some days I'm clearly only ready for baby steps.

Want to use every last band-aid in the house on one leg. SURE! If one of us really turns up bleeding there's always a ripped up t-shirt and tape. Or did you already get to the tape too? Eh, garbage ties then.

Baking a cake with Mommy and coating the kitchen in flour? Christmas in July! Cracking the eggs-and their accompanying shells-into the bowl? Crunchy! Eating the raw egg? It's organic. And local. What are the chances?

Other days, either she suspects I may be ready for more of a challenge, or she delights in watching me crash and burn the mothering plane.

Today while playing at Green Acre in the nursery, a child rolled toward Samaya and her vacuum cleaner on a little toy car. Thinking he was coming to take said vacuum cleaner away from her (obviously!), she let out a blood curdling scream, and attempted to knock him unconscious with it. She missed. I immediately took her out of the room to have a little talk and she bit my arm. And here lies my weakness. I DO NOT like to be bitten. I'm pretty sure my amygdala is immediately hijacked whenever I am bitten. I jerked her body away from me so fast and practically flung her into the nearest bathroom before either of us knew what had happened. Thankfully I took a few deep breaths while she cried in the stall before I proceeded and I remained pretty calm. But there have been other incidents that are certainly not appropriate for this here blog. Or, you know, for a just two-years-on-the-planet little one to receive.

Now, she has quickly realized that the most reliable way to ensure my downfall as a mother lies not in the carefully crafted dramatic moment but in the systematic whittling away at my sanity through incessant whining and orneriness.
And so here I am living out my fantasy as a mother of littles having to REMIND myself that I love them at least a few times a week. (Ok, let's be fair. I have never once had to remind myself that I love Violet. Only that I should maybe stop eating her because she is so unbelievably yummy and I. just. cannot. get. enough.)

But seriously, the love thing. If I can hold it together long enough to inhale, maybe catch the faint scent of her still-baby hair in the process, or recall her exact intonation when she says, "I love you, Mommy," I can usually remember that I love her too! Then hold her or sit down and read a book with her or realize she just needs to eat or take a nap. And if I knew how to knit, I totally would just sit quietly on the couch with my needles while she proceeded with her tantrum. Not solving her difficulties or even claiming to know what exactly is so difficult. Just acknowledging that life is in fact so very difficult.

I'm not always very conscious of the deeper layers of myself, and trying to determine what my children are really trying to tell me can be even trickier. But I am fairly convinced that they are doing the best that they can at any given moment with the tools they have been given. Children act always out of purpose. And theoretically I know that when they are at their lowest, they need their mommies the most. To acknowledge. To be calm. To be present. I don't need to know what latest transformation their minds, bodies, or souls are undergoing, but I do need to be grounded so that they have something to hold on to while the world as they know it is tossed up in the air. Besides, isn't their behavior at least a partial reflection of the tools I have or have not given them?

And isn't my behavior the only thing I ultimately have control over? Let's work on the attainable, shall we? And Samaya, you work on being two, k?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Happy Birthday to Chaltu!

Today was Chaltu's 1st Birthday, and so naturally this called for a cake, a hearty rendition of 'Happy Chaltu Birthday', and an ever-so-proper tea party. All before breakfast. Or rather, instead of breakfast.

Be proud of me. Be very very proud. The other baby of the family has been killing me with infinity night wake-ups and 5 am mornings, and so today when she slept until 7:30 it felt like Christmas. No, Ayyam-i-Ha. Also, remind me to fall asleep more often with Samaya. It makes for better parenting all around.

Samaya and Chaltu, my eager bakers.

Notice how I chose the only photo where her fingers
weren't wandering around in the batter.

'I'll take this piece.'

Tea for Chaltu.

Clearly giddy with excitement.

Raspberry buttermilk cake and tea. from the tap.

In related news, I've hired Maria Montessori as my personal nanny, and though I've known her for a while now, I am really just beginning to appreciate her magic. She certainly has a way with children. The secret? Put 'em to work. Even better: make them do YOUR work. If I write a follow-up post about Montessori in our home, it will probably be called Child Labor. Look for it.
I am always searching for ways to turn more control over to Samaya and considering she is very much in the 'do it SELF' phase of life, this can only mean fewer battles. Among other more profound things like increased self-esteem and becoming a productive member of society. So this morning in our birthday preparations, I prayed for detachment and then let her have at it. She poured all the ingredients in the bowl, tasting every single one. She cracked her first egg. She stirred, gracing the floor, the wall and most of her body with batter. She buttered the pan, and proceeded in taking a generous bite. She distributed plates and silverware to each of her guests. She poured many, many cups of tea and many more pots directly into her mouth. She washed and dried her tea set in her kitchen, washing a few more times for good measure.

The end result: a very messy kitchen, a truly grounded and happy child, a deeply satisfied mama.

Now, if only Violet hadn't fallen off the bed before lunch and I might have considered it a pretty good mothering day...