Henry is at a really great age. He's very much into imaginative play, building forts, space and planets, bones and dinosaurs. We bought him his first board games this month: Candy Land & Chutes and Ladders. While this is a fun age, it's also a crucial one. I'm realizing that my role as his Mother is changing. Aside from nurturing, caring and loving that we've always done, we are now in the phase where we are talking about things like what it means to tell the truth, to be honest. What a lie is. Little life lessons. He's so impressionable at this age. I have to really think about how and what I say to him. A few weeks ago, for the first time in his life, he raised his hand to hit me. My eyes almost popped out of my head. I just looked at him and he knew, mid-hit, that what he was doing was wrong. He ran into his room, closed his door and started to cry. "Do I hit you? Does Papa hit you?" I ask. "No." "Then it is not okay for you to hit me or Papa or anyone. You can cry and you can disagree but you cannot hit." Where did he even learn that? While I don't think it's terribly unusual for a child of his age who is trying desperately to have a voice to exhibit this behavior, it most definitely is not acceptable. We're trying, like most parents are, to raise good children that have values and respect and who are kind to others and crossing our fingers that it actually works.
I'll never forget an experience I had a few years ago. I was stopped at a traffic signal and a few dozen pedestrians were crossing the street in front of me. The crowd made it to the other side, with the exception of a little old Grandma who was desperately trying to get across the street before the signal turned. At that very moment, a young man who had already made it to the other side came running back to her, put her arm in his and together they walked to the other side. I sat there thinking 'How do you raise a child like that?' More importantly, is that the kind of thing you can even teach? Do some kids just instinctively do those types of things? How do you raise your children to see situations like that and act on them? I am a firm believer that there is no better way to teach than by example but how far does your example go? A few years ago I bought this book, "Above all, Be Kind" and it rang so true. I don't need/want to have the smartest child, but it's so important to me for them to be kind
Parenting is hard. I always say that to people and they look at me like I have an arm growing out of my forehead. It doesn't mean that I don't absolutely love my children and think that motherhood is the absolute best thing around, but it can be challenging. It's supposed to be, right? I found myself a few weeks ago at 10:30 p.m. with a baby who was crying so loudly I was sure there was blood dripping from my ears and a 3 year old who was sitting on my bed wanting me to put the baby down so I could lay down and snuggle with him. He was tired, I was exhausted. It was 2 hours past his bedtime. I was secretly resentful that Chris was at the movies, even though it was technically for work (he's working on the side for Netflix and getting paid to watch movies. I know.) Why wasn't he here to help me? I'm remembering that I am going on 4 hours of sleep and I'm patting and swinging and shushing and walking and rocking and bouncing and singing and nothing is working. Henry keeps calling and finally, finally she passes out on my shoulder. I lay her down and sit back down in the rocking chair with my head in my hands. My head is throbbing. I just need a minute. Henry is still waiting for me. "Mama, I want to come to you" he says. He climbs off our bed and into my lap. I wrap my arms around him and look down to see big tears streaming down his face. "Sometimes it's hard isn't it?" He shakes his head. I know he's feeling it and I am too. I'm crying now and after a few minutes we climb out of the rocking chair and into the bed for the long-promised snuggling. And it's then that I remember that while being a Mother can sometimes feel overwhelming, I wouldn't change it for the world.
I've been writing this post for 2 1/2 hours. I am rambling. I'm going to bed now.