On Starting Fresh
Isabella woke up sort of angry today. I don’t know why, maybe she’s just having one of those days. I woke up pretty happy but it didn’t take long for me to catch her mood and soon we were both grumpy. I’m having one of those very-busy, cleaning-the-house, putting-dishes-away, please-can-you-just-play-by-yourself-like-you-did-yesterday kind of days. But Isabella is having one of those I-need-you-to-hold-me-every-second-of-my-life-forever-but-I-also-want-you-to-put-me-down kind of days. We are just not on the same page.
She signed “eat” so I sat her in her high chair and cut up some cherries for her. She eagerly gobbled up every last one of them and signed “more.” I cut up a whole bunch more and went back to washing dishes. She threw her cherries on the ground (on the carpet), reached her arms out toward me, and with the saddest most piteous look on her face, began to wail. At this point, we’d already had many, many of these moments, I’d listened to so much whining, been followed around and grabbed at and cried at all morning. I, hands wet and soapy, threw the cup I was cleaning into the sink, yanked her out of her seat, and plopped her on the ground. “FINE. If you don’t want to eat, DON’T EAT. Just SIT THERE.”
If you’ve ever thrown a fit back at a toddler who is throwing a fit, you know how super helpful it is. As I cleaned up her cherries, finished the last of the dishes, and dried my hands, she cried louder and louder. At this point it was obvious that she wasn’t just frustrated that I had inexplicably given her the additional cherries she asked for. I had treated her and spoken to her without love, I had become angry for a stupid reason, after little frustrations from the whole morning had built and built and built. I could see so clearly in her face that I had really hurt her feelings. My heart softened immediately.
“We’ve both had a hard morning. Let’s hit the reset button.”
I set everything else aside and gently gathered her up. We sat down on the couch together and she nursed and I could feel the tension draining from our muscles. I talked to her as she nursed and told her how sorry I was for being angry and overreacting, for not being patient, and for not giving her grace. I apologized for putting things and chores ahead of her needs, because the dishes will be there. The laundry will be there. But she will grow and change and these moments, these days when she craves my attention are precious.
She looked up at me, just looking into my eyes and me into hers, one of my most favorite things about breastfeeding. She signed “nurse” and smiled and everything went back to being ok.
It’s easy for me to let a bad few hours stick with me and before I know it the whole day has been horrible. But not today.