I made the best decision ever when I put my daughter in early preschool. My slightly unruly yet still adorable kid was having trouble in different social situations.
Her current state of being an only child put her in a limbo – seeing kids she wanted so desperately to play with, but having those kids run away from her was painful for both of us. Sometimes it was because she didn’t know how to play. Others just because they didn’t know her. She didn’t know how to share everything, only what grown ups made her do. She wasn’t prepared for the rejection of kids not wanting to play with her, so it would result in heartbreaking tears. She was a smart, funny kid that couldn’t reach her potential.
We enrolled her in an early preschool program and I cannot express enough the world of change I saw in my kid! She was now forced into those social situations twice a week, surrounded by 2-3 loving adults to help them work through their problems with confidence. My beautiful, silly, crazy girl now shares, respects rules (when given reasons to help her understand), and knows how to better handle the unfortunate rejection situations.
On top of it all, that big, gorgeous brain in her head has been amplified! She will count something and then show me the number that corresponds with the total. She points out letters and can write her name. She’s 3! It’s amazing!
This sounds like a lot of bragging, and though it partially is, please know I don’t think my daughter is any better than the rest of the kids we know. Every kid brings something to the table, and I’m mostly just impressed with the human mind and it’s ability to adapt in general. Even specifically her class was full of brilliant little pipsqueaks that I’m sure made a lot of parents as proud as I am!
Now that preschool is over for the year, I don’t want her to lose what she’s learned. We have friends with kids and others that will be having babies soon to keep the sharing and social aspects in tact, but I needed something to exercise her brain. It needed to be fun for both of us, we can get bored pretty easy. It dawned on me at my grandparents house yesterday.
I’ve been drawing E coloring pages while I’m at work. I’m no Picasso, but I can draw a mean teapot. So I set to work thinking of three letter words that had something I could draw. Then I put three lines below the picture, one for each letter. Below each line I gave her two letters to pick from, one was right and one was wrong. It comes out looking something like this:
So we would then sound out the word, then name and sound out each letter. She had to pick and circle the right letter, then write it on the line above. She took to it so well! She made me draw six more while we were there, and more while I was at work later. She even woke up this morning and wanted to do some more right away.
Of course she ran into trouble every now and then, but ultimately breezed through them!
In my combing of Pinterest, Facebook and the like, I have found many blogs and posts that remind me of how I want to be a mother.
They remind me to let her be silly. To let her be herself. To support her and show her she’s loved..
The problem is, I do that anyway. I cannot imagine a life without my daughter, and I hope I never have to. As much as reminders are always welcome to keep me on track, it’s the lesser of pressing matters to me. Instead, I would rather talk about the elephant in the room. The frustrations of being a mom, and how I feel when they happen.
I can’t express the magnitude of love you have when you’re a mom. I would move mountains for this girl, and stick up for her at all costs. At the same time… Sweet Moses she has a list of my buttons and KNOWS how and when to push them.
1) Why is everything that breaks, mine?
No. Really. In the 3.5 years of her existence, there has not been ONE THING of my husbands that has been destroyed. Jewelry, clothes, nicknacks…. All mine. It must be contagious too, because my husband just broke my favorite coffee mug. It took a lot to not be mad at him… Bless his heart.
2) What’s with the demands?
I can’t say how many times I have to remind my baby girl of manners. It has gotten to the point where I just ignore her. Sounds awful, right? But it just won’t sink in. I can remind her once after a rude “I want milk,” to ask nicely with a “please,” only 5 minutes later to hear “I want Batman.” It doesn’t work! So, instead, she can ask all she wants and I just look at her blankly… Waiting… Until she picks up on it, pauses and smiles with a “please have milk,” or what have you. Now, I know she is 3, but I can’t help but feel clueless until I find some tactic that works. It just so happens, that a mild amount of ignoring seems to do the trick, and ends up making us both smile in the end.
3) Really quick…
To my daughter: Do you know how cute you are when you sleep? Sometimes you smile and laugh while you dream and I can’t stop staring at that beautiful face waiting for you to do it again. The last time was after a half asleep trip to the potty to ensure a dry night, to only end up in tears for me waking you up, and those tears turn into an adorable and fruitful laughter of giggles right before the hardest of sleeps.
4) Why does it have to be a tippy?
Either way, you could drink the 18 cups of juice and milk you beg of me in a day.. Why through the same princess tippy each time? I actually think you could take down more, faster, if you would just broaden your horizons like I keep asking.
5) Some days, your voice is set to “whining” mode…
Can I just say, if I hear “mommy” in that tone one more time, I SWEAR TO PETE…
I know that you need me. You know that I love you. But sometimes hearing that tone for 10 hours is too much. By the time daddy gets home, don’t be surprised if I tap out.
6) Sometimes mommy and daddy get mad, and it’s not always about you.
We get angry, frustrated, upset and irritated. We’re human. Sometimes it’s with each other, sometimes it’s with outside instances, and (to be honest) sometimes it’s with the kid. Earlier today it was from finally sitting down, getting comfortable, only to immediately be asked for juice. A few hours ago we were both enraged with the Seahawks not living up to our personal standards. Sometimes, I snap. I get moody, I’ll raise my voice, and it all could have been handled calmly with a normal conversation. Ive been better about giving her warnings before with an “I’m not going to ask nicely any more,” but none the less.. Nothing can be helped by our wee one, so we explain to her as needed. It usually comes out something like “you know mommy (and/or daddy) love you very much, and sometimes you get angry.. When you can’t get a toy to work or we don’t do what you want us to. Well, how you feel is how (I/he/we) feel right now. Go play.”
7) On that note, I don’t always want to play.
I will roll around with you, wrestle, build blocks, read to you, tickle you, cook with you, push your imaginary puppy in a stroller, dance with you, dig with you, slide with you, push you on the swing… Other times you kick, hit, scratch or get this wild look in your eyes that makes me back off. And other times, I just want to sit. Just sit. Watch my show, read a book, or stare at the wall… Just do nothing for anyone but me. Selfishness, I know. But I’m being honest, and I know I’m not the only one out there. It’s not all day every day, I’m just exhausted at some points and need some time. I’ll respect you the same way later, I promise.
8) I’m going to get it out of you..
If it’s about what you did in preschool today, the friends you made, or why you have that look on your face like I should find the crayon colorings on the wall somewhere… I will get it out of you. Whether it is with persistent coaxing in loving tones, or my perfected “mom” look… I’ll get it…
9) steel yourself… There’s more to life than chicken nuggets.
What a concept, huh? Meal diversity from mac and cheese and deep fried chicken could really help this healthier life style that I would love to give you. Of course, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree here… Hello Pot, meet Kettle.. At least you like broccoli. You didn’t get that from me.
10) Your father compares us to oil and water, but we know he’s wrong.
Some of the best relationships in life test you. Nothing is great unless you put in the hours. We’re just getting ours out of the way. Sure we battle each other, have mental stand offs to see who will back down from the spot on the couch. No matter what it ends in kisses or tickles inevitably, and we’re just testing each other. I know you’re 3, you know I’m a grown up. Your dad knows we were meant for each other, and so do I. At the end of the day, our love is what matters, and I think we’re more like salt and pepper.
I’m sure I can think of more. I may even post more later. But I’ve had these conversations with other mothers who feel guilty for feeling this way. That your kids frustrate you to the point of doubting yourself and it makes you snap sometimes. I think it just takes practice. Your kid takes their cues from you. If you model yourself for them and they will start to follow.
All I’ve seen lately is reminders of how to be a good mom. I’m already a good mom. I love, protect, and provide for my daughter. I give her life experiences and laughter, I feed her, clothe her and teach her. But I’m human. I get frustrated, not follow my own parental guidelines and get caught up in myself. And then I blame myself. I know I shouldn’t, but I’m only human.