Lessons in Being a Pillow

Some parts of parenting come to us naturally. For me those parts were a joy of snack and maintaining a regular napping schedule. Food and sleep are two things I can naturally get behind and support. Other things (pretty much every other thing) have come with a learning curve. Sometimes it is more along the lines of a learning punch in the gut.

My five year old is an emotional creature. I keep thinking maybe next  year she will ‘grow out of it’ but I’ve come to accept that she may always be much like a pinball in regards to emotional highs, lows, tears, and exuberant laughter. That’s only covering five minutes of her normal day.

I will be the first to admit that my natural instinct when someone comes at me with an emotional charge is to be like a brick wall. When something is hurled at a brick wall TYPICALLY one of two things happen. The item bounces back, often times with surprising momentum – anger for anger, tears for tears, and excitement for even more excitement. I kind of tend to match and bounce back what is given. For some this is a good thing. They like the feed back, the like the ability to reflect on their actions as a result of mine. This is to true for Karrigan. It sends her reeling. The other thing that can happen when something is thrown at a brick wall is that the object hits it and shatters, breaks, collapses. I think of this as those moments where two minutes of whining all the sudden become a complete and total sobbing melt down and where neither my child or I walk away feeling like things went well. The wall. That’s what I am naturally.

It has become increasingly apparent that is not what my child needs. What my oldest needs (the other two are yet to be determined) is a pillow.

Man how I wish I meant that in a physical sense. Dairy Queen here I come! Just making sacrifices for the kids and trying to be more pillow-like.

No, what I meant is my child needs an emotional pillow. She needs a mom she can yell at and who gives back a whisper. Have you ever yelled into a pillow? That’s essentially the same affect.

She needs a mother who absorbs her tears, and doesn’t do much more than that. She doesn’t want or need to me fix things. She doesn’t need me to explain her feelings. She just needs a mom who wipes her cheeks and absorbs the tears because that makes them go away faster.

She needs a mom who offers a cuddle when she is frustrated and who doesn’t press and pry for a story to fit with every feeling she has. Sometimes my daughter needs me to just –be.

Quiet. Still. Soft.

Those words don’t describe me naturally but you know what will make those words fit me? Love.

Love for my daughter. The desire to be what she needs, even when my original mold wasn’t created that way. It’s not easy. I raise my voice in response to hers. I tell her to “toughen up” more than is logical. I exclaim “Why are you crying AGAIN?” at least twice a day. Still as parents we strive and we try and lately when I’ve been at my wits end I’ve been taking a look at my pillow and thinking…What would you do big fluffy? Then I try to do that.

The funny thing is …it works.

Oh and being a physical pillow as mentioned before? I’ll always be that, any time her little head needs a place to rest. That’s the best kind of pillow to be.

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Karrigan using Baby Sinclaire as a pillow before her arrival a few years ago!
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#63 When it comes to Children (or children at heart), Painting Your Nails, and Baking–Practice Patience.

I am not a patient person by nature. I crave instant gratification. That’s probably why I enjoyed being a waitress so much–going home cash in hand every day. Enough about me, this blog was designed to be about you.

I have learned that for at LEAST three things in life you must have patience.

1. Doing anything with children. In all reality this should say when doing anything with other people, however it is especially true when you are involved with people younger than yourself. Children think and analyze a lot more than we give them credit for. We shouldn’t be worried about rushing them to meet our point of view, speed of step, or sense of humor. Everything to a young child is new and they will make mistakes. Patience in these situations is critical. if you ever have children of your own or spend time with someone else’s children please be patient with them. Trust me, all of those things that you can do so quick and easily now–like reading this blog–you are only able to do because someone once took TIME and used PATIENCE to teach you when you were a slow beginner.

2. Painting your nails requires patience. Since having you, I have made an effort to be more “girly”. I didn’t want to risk having a daughter who was a girly-girl and having no connection to her simply because I was a tom-boy. It may sound silly but it’s true. One thing I have learned is that when painting your nails you MUST have patience. It might seem like that polish is taking 2 hours to dry (when really it is only 20 minutes) but if you don’t just sit and wait you will find yourself with a smudged goopy mess in no time. Besides, wet nails are a great excuse to just take some deep breaths and enjoy the day. Have patience..they will dry..and your blog will wait ’til they do.

3. Be a patient baker. Karrigan, you are already really good at eating under cooked cookies. My  impatience continually gets the best of me in my baking endeavors. I jump the gun on pulling the pan from the oven EVERY time. Images of burnt edges dance in my mind as I stare into the oven begging the item to finish. Sure enough, I remove the goodies from the oven and proudly call them done–only to find a not so done center. Using a timer doesn’t work, especially when I already know our oven takes longer than average to cook things–but still swear by the time suggestion on the box. When baking sweet one, be patient..let the dough rise, let the oven bake, let the cookies cool or suffer the wrath of a burnt tongue.

Really the point of this post is to remind you that sometimes the best thing you can do is sit back and wait. Let the world slide by, give things time, don’t rush what refuses to move faster anyways. Be patient with your youth, and be patient with me as I grow old and become more like a child once again.

Getting big and playing patty-cake.

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#41 Just Say No To “Sexting”

Let me start by saying that your father and I have agreed it will be a long time before you have a phone that does much more than this..

That’s right..this little baby by Firefly has a button for calling Mom, Dad, 911, and an option for a few more numbers that mom or dad program in. No texting, no fancy camera, and definitely no internet. Go ahead and throw your fit now. It’s true your dad and I feel it is our job to protect you from yourself as long as we can.

I don’t know who decided that giving 11 and 12 year olds the internet and cameras right in their pocket is a good idea. As a marketing concept I suppose it’s great, but as a save your innocence and your self respect concept it’s HORRIBLE. Please dear daughter never let me catch you involved in the current trend of “sexting”–and I can only imagine the options available to hormone raged teenagers by the time you get to all of eleven years old. There is nothing classy about showing off parts of your body to random guys or even some boy friend you won’t be allowed to have when you’re 13.  It would be even worse if said picture some how ended up in the hands of ALL your peers when you break up with the saggy pants loser, love of your life, boy friend of the month because you guys couldn’t agree what your “song” should be.

When your father and I finally give in and get you a “real” phone, when you’re 30 sixteen or so, please use it responsibly. Use it in a way that won’t allow someone else to hold your self respect in their hands. Use it to call and talk to your best friend late into the night–not send pictures of yourself to some dude who shouldn’t see any of you unclothed ever until you’re married.

Thanks

#29 Appreciate, Appreciate, Appreciate

Some day long from now it will hit you how truly lucky you are. You have food when you need it, clothes on your back, a roof over your head. Realize, oh young one, that this is not a luxury that all people have. I watched a video today that while at first made me laugh, on second thought it made me a bit sad. In the video you have children who have all of their needs being met who are a bit more than upset about not getting some of their wants. I understand that a large part of this is their natural child nature. It is the only way they know how to act. I also understand you may throw a similar fit some day. However, I hope to teach you to appreciate the things you have and make you realize that every gift–no matter big or small–should be appreciated.

Please have a laugh…and never let me record you getting this upset…

Jimmy Kimmel — Terrible Present

I guess part of me laughs at this because my grandma (your great grandma) gave me a porcelain teapot for easter when I was seven–and told me not to break it. She also gave me a pack of batteries for Christmas one year. On another occasion she gave me a 4 pack roll of film which would have been thoughtful considering I love photography. However, after wrapping the gift she realized she had no film and proceeded to unwrap the gift, take out one roll of film, and then repackage and wrap the whole box. I got 3 rolls out of a 4 pack for Christmas. All in all I think I handled it pretty well because truth is, no matter what she gave me as gifts, she was my grandma and I loved her.

Maybe I should just get you Christmas lights for for your gift this year…