It was one of those days today. It was mostly good and I did some surprisingly domestic things, like make pumpkin soup from scratch and puree a bunch of squash for Simon. We had company and snacks and naps and for the most part, it was a good day.
But, tonight I have a foreboding feeling that just getting my kids to sleep through the night is not the only challenge and maybe not even the most important one. I feel afraid that I am not up for parenting as well as I want to. I am not up for it, because I don't know how to do it. How do I teach Sadie that it's ok to be angry, but it's not ok to hit Simon on the head? That's a pretty delicate line for a 2 year old. Actually, it's a delicate line for me and I am 38. How can I sift through all the cultural poison and old messages and give my children a foundation of love and kindness without also teaching them to stuff their feelings and be "nice"?
We are exploring some parenting books, but they really exacerbate my anxiety, especially if they conflict with one another. I am laughing at myself because WAY WAY back in the day when I was pregnant and reading several books on that hefty subject, I thought pregnancy would be the most bewildering time of my life. Now, I know it's nothing compared to raising these former fetuses. I don't want to hover over Sadie and Simon, but I also don't want Sadie testing her strength on Simon, because he's pretty defenseless. Someone he will have ways to fight back or test his own strength in response, but not now.
I am overwhelmed. I want Sadie to keep her legs still while I try to put her into her pajamas, but she thinks its hilarious to move around while I try to get her ready for bed. The more frustrated I get, the more she laughs. I also want Sadie to hold my hand in a parking lot, but she thinks it's funny to break away and laugh at me. Guess how funny I find that?
As Sadie says, "Mommy no laugh."
Simon, I want him to let me put on his diaper without him doing a 180 degree turn on his changing table. He's not interested in laying there while I clean his little booty. He wants to get up and walk around. I also want Simon to stay latched on when he nurses, but he likes to look around, even if we are the only people in the room and there is nothing new to see. "Simon, you've seen that chair 100 times, please just focus on my breast and do your business."
So many things I want require my children to do certain things or refrain from doing certain other things. In the big picture, I know they are wonderful little people and I know I love them very well. But, I wasn't prepared for how terrifying this business of loving and raising kids is. Shit. They let me have two kids before I ever knew how to make homemade soup. (First time making homemade soup: Today. Pumpkin. Slightly over salted, but delicious.)
Tonight I feel little and scared. I told Jeff I wasn't up for this. He said, "What?" I said, "Raising children." He said, "you are and you are doing it." I said, "Maybe I just don't want to because it's too hard." He said, "Well, that's another story."
Sure is. It sure is.