Raisin' kiddos. 5 years in.

Baby Lila. And Baby Mama me.

As my first born approaches a momentous birthday, (ok, she'll be five), I can't help but reflect on what it's like to be her parent.

I feel like I'm entering this new period of her life with more than a little trepidation. Um, this is when it starts getting real, ya'll. This is when they START TO REMEMBER STUFF... LIKE FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.

Time out.

I remember when my Lila Pickle was a newborn. I'd park her in front of a Baby Einstein DVD (which haven't they been banned now?) while I took a shower. But then I quickly learned that she preferred E!'s Talk Soup (who wouldn't?), so she'd watch that.

T.V. and a newborn?
Sure, why not. It's not like she'd remember it.

So when she was first born I really wasn't riddled with anxiety or fear; I just wanted to do things right. But if I didn't, it was ok because she had no real memory of it. (Can I get an amen?)

Don't get me wrong, it was all new, though! And it was daunting:
  • Was I swaddling her too tight?
  • I need to help her learn to develop good sleep skills.
  • When should she eat solids? Which solids? HOW OFTEN?
  • Why is she almost three and we don't know what she's saying?
  • Did I not do enough tummy time with her?
  • Are her teeth going to grow in like that? 
  • Is the bath water too hot? Too cold?
  • WHAT IF I USE NON-BABY, SULFATE-LADEN SHAMPOO ON HER!?
  • What if she hates cow's milk? What if she's got food allergies?
  • What if she falls out of bed when her crib becomes a toddler bed?
  • What if she chokes?
  • What if she falls?
  • What if she bleeds?
What if she does something that I didn't plan?!

WHAT IF SHE DOES SOMETHING I CANNOT CONTROL?!

::

Well, that sweet girl has taught me more than I could ever, ever imagine.

She taught me that it's all out of my control. What will be (within reason), will simply, be.

Most importantly, my little cupcake has taught that me all parents do the best they can with what they have at that time.

::

I vividly remember where I was when I understood this rite of parenting passage: I was rocking Baby Lila to sleep weeks after she was born. As I was rocking, I was overcome by the intensity of my love for her and it simply clicked; this is the way she felt about me.

My Mom loved me with all of her heart.
She wanted to do nothing but GOOD for me.
She wanted to protect me forever.

And I felt the same way about my baby, then.
And nearly five years later, I feel the same way about my baby today.
And I bet 25 years from today, I'll feel the same way.

So since that day, I've been doing the best I can, with what I have. Just like my Mom did.

::

As we enter this next chapter, I'm going to strive to give this child good memories. But I'm not going to let her coast through life, either. The bar is set high because she can reach it, I know she can. I'll be her biggest cheerleader; I'll giggle with her and do crafts with her. But I will ensure that her homework is done and that her manners, ethics and integrity are unshakable. She will continue to learn to laugh at herself, have empathy for others and try again, in new ways, until it clicks.

This child has taught me patience.
She's brought a tranquility to my soul.
My sweet girl has taught me what unconditional love is.

When she was younger, she was so, so, so very shy. So introverted. 
It frustrated me. I couldn't relate.
I read books, "How to handle your introverted child."
It wasn't easy, but... it's her.
And what intimidated me at first, is what I treasure about her now.

She's guarded; but when she lets you in, there's no place you'd rather be than in her arms and in her heart.

While she's grown, she has helped me grow.

::

So nearly five years in, I'm doing the best I can with what I have.

And I hope that one day she's rocking her baby and is all of a sudden overcome with love and emotion and tears... and in that moment she thinks of me and says...

"I get it."

3 or 4-days-old with her Nana, my Mom.

::


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8 comments:

  1. Beautiful. Happy Birthday to Lila and kudos to you on being an amazing Mom! (P.S. I think Lila and Kennedy share some personality traits... :)

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    1. Thank you, Kristin. Is Kennedy the introvert, too? Tell me more.

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  2. Perfect words as always. It's true, her personality is her treasure. I'm so happy she let me in. Every time I look at my drawing I smile. I love her. I love you. You're an awesome mom. And I HEAR YA. Kylee, they remember EVERYTHING. OMG. And they SEE everything.

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    1. You're so sweet. From the moment you told me, "It's going to happen. And it's going to be a girl," you've understood Lila. :) Thank you for being my friend.

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  3. FIVE?! i remember stalking your blog from my desk at work, waiting to hear of her arrival. wishing her a magical day to celebrate. and you? kudos on five years of fabulous doing-the-very-best-you-can mommying, and cheers to many, many more. xoxo

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    1. RIGHT? How did this happen so quickly? And, thank you for walking through this parenting journey with me. HUGS to you.

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  4. Seems so impossible that she is nearly FIVE. It goes so fast, yet so slow, doesn't it?

    Have you read the book "Quiet"? I

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  5. Beautiful.

    "all parents do the best they can with what they have at that time" - YES.
    "She taught me that it's all out of my control." - YES YES

    I think being a parent has been tough, I have my days....many days. But it is THE. MOST. AMAZING. gift I have ever been blessed to receive.

    What a lovely post and I think you are an amazing mother, it is evident by how Lila (and Vivi) are turning out. Helping to push her out in areas like being an introvert and letting her flourish in areas she already shines at like art. You just see it all when you look at your girls. You are definitely doing the best (and then some) with what you have.

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