My highest moments in parenting come from when I accept the inevitable with something approximating grace. My lowest parenting moments come when I try to force an outcome on my children, operating from the notion that it "shouldn't" be this way, like a later morning wake time for Ezra. The whole family does well with a 7/7:30 wake time, dude, why ya gotta start your demands at 6 am? No matter what time he goes to bed, the clock reads 6:13 when he stumbles in grumbling like Linus, blankie in hand and hair wild from sleep. After 20 straight mornings of this, it's time to accept what is.
At 18 months, we are in the throes of separation anxiety and it is intense being on the receiving end of so much need (Matthew might argue that he has it harder, as the unpreferred parent!). Ezra will smack his brother if he's in my lap, push Papa away if we are all three sharing a hug and pitch a fit if I deign to hold another child at a playgroup. There are lots of fits, actually, with a whole host of triggers. And the nursing. Short version: this guy likes his boobs. After a few months of accepting Papa for all nighttime comfort, we have recently endured several 30-40 minute screaming fits in the middle of the night if I do not nurse him.
|unsanctioned piano climbing|
When I approach these challenges with an open heart and a peaceful mind, the answers come more easily. He's not ready to wean. The need to be near (preferably in arms and on boob) is a developmental stage, not his lifelong temperament. I can meet these needs, and a big factor is going to bed early enough to support a 6 am wake up (instead of operating on the false hope that maybe, just maybe, he'll sleep in tomorrow).
And you know, 7 am on a summer morning is a lovely time to nurse in the hammock outside, listening to the birds welcome the day, while Chula Dog bops around. Some days I do more than just accept what is, I can even find the pleasure in it.
It helps that Ezra is the second child because I've learned these lessons before! I already know that just when a child's behaviors begin to feel intolerable, they move on and it gets better.
Enough with the gloom and doom of the toddler stage, you know what's truly awesome? Toddler kisses, that's what. Loose lips, tremendous focus, whole body leaning in, hands squeezing face...pure love and goodness, there.