Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 100: Perspective

My second parenting experience has been very different than my first for many reasons, and up near the top of the list is perspective. I have the advantage of seeing bits and pieces of the future here in the present.

When Jackson went through particularly bad teething spells, I literally thought he and I might never sleep again. When his choices became particularly aggravating, I was convinced the stage was going to last forever - he was going to throw peas from his plate until he left for college, I just knew it! When I had had enough, I couldn't take one more day, one more episode, even one more moment of whatever was getting under my skin because there was no visible end to the madness.

But coming out on the other side with everyone relatively unscathed allows me to feel differently with Maxwell. I've seen the end, and I know, no matter how far off it is, it's coming.

Now as Max works through another set of teeth and I'm barely conscious as I type, I can shrug my shoulders and say, "Eh, they'll be through soon and all we'll catch up on rest until the next set." When he refuses to sit up, despite the fact that he's crawling, pulling up and even walking the couch, I just brush off the bumps to the head, knowing that he'll eventually concede and fall to his butt instead of his noggin.

And I also benefit from the change that has come to my perspective of childhood behavior and parenting through education and experience.

When the aforementioned peas were thrown from Jackson's chair with a smirk and a look directly into my eyes, I knew he was doing it to get a rise out of me. But when Max tests boundaries, I'm able to see it for what it is: an experiment or an unmet need being expressed.

I suffered through Jackson's sleepless nights in a chair or walking a dark nursery because once we had initiated bed time, we couldn't leaving the room. Consistency, you know; one night of deviation and he'd think every night was a party! Now, when Max struggles at bedtime, he just joins us on the couch for a family snuggle.

Perspective has allowed me to relax, leave rigidity behind, and go with the flow of our family. What a relief! Although it's still a work in progress, I'm able to forgo a lot of stress and take more joy in our relationships now.

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