I feel like this post’s title is a bit of a lie because I am not a solo parent. Elliott is very much alive and well, he’s just not here. But not here for three weeks at a time is hard. I am very ready for this separation to be over… and we’ve still got two weeks to go.
Lena seems to have turned a corner recently and has become so willful and sassy. Her new thing is to shout, “No! Nooo!” just for the fun of it, often while looking me right in the eye and declaring she will not do whatever I deem a good idea or proper behavior for a 1.5-year-old. I’m somewhat at a loss as to how to address this. What is proper discipline? And what is the heart of the issue that I can address in a way she will understand? Just to illustrate a bit, those photos above were taken after a flippin’ tantrum because this little miss of mine didn’t want to wait for the dough to be finished before we tasted it. (She sure was happy and cute by the time we took the pictures, though, with a chocolate cookie dough-covered beater in her mouth!)
Also, she appears to have given up her afternoon nap. Guys, I love her naps. Love them. Every day that 90 minutes or so in the morning and again in the afternoon are bliss for me. At home I use them to clean the house, catch up on emails, write a blog post, read a book… enjoy the peace. There is such a sense of peace in the house when you and your child have a routine and he or she settles peacefully down for a nap!
I knew this day would come, but I hoped it would take another year (!) or so. As I write this she is in her bed for her afternoon nap, happily chatting to herself, occasionally yelling, every now and then calling “Mama! Maaaama! Mamamama!” This is Day 4 of this routine. Yesterday I left her in her crib for 1.5 hours! At one point she was quiet (“yay, at last” I thought) and then suddenly she began crying in distress. I raced up the stairs and found her standing in her crib holding her fingers out to me, asking me to clean them. They were covered in thick gel, and in the other hand was an open pot of Vaseline! She is now big enough to reach out of her crib, open a nearby drawer, and pull out the contents. I couldn’t believe it. I rebuked her firmly, emptied the drawer, moved her crib, and left her… only to listen to another 30 minutes of babbling upstairs. Finally, I gave up entirely and lifted my relieved little toddler out of her crib. I had been stubborn, but that day she was stubborner.
Anyway, I guess I’m feeling the aches and pains of motherhood these days. I miss my husband and I’m definitely feeling the effects of pregnancy combined with jet lag (yes, still… days later). Lena’s new routine of waking up by 6:15am also isn’t helping things. I need grace to mother and respond to Lena without my hubby to take over when the going gets tough (or when 5pm rolls around each day!).
And I’m also feeling my inadequacy at this whole enormous parenting task. For all the other parents (or adult children of wise parents) who are reading this, do you have any ideas or advice?