Oh, ya'll. Getting here yesterday was INSANE. Really. And I've taken a lot of trips, a lot of solo baby things, a lot of whatever. And this one was high on the list of nuttiness... even though Harper was on her best behavior and I actually cried at least twice with how sweet and excited she was. But! We are here and it's gorgeous and all is (almost, sort of, maybe never but oh well) forgotten.
Gonna start pounding these out while she's reading books in her hotel cribby, getting ready to drift off into napland.
1. What is the hardest part of parenting for you?
I think...the knowledge that I'm IT. I'm the mom lady. If I decide to let her eat nothing but jelly beans and pickles for a week, no one's going to stop me. If I slack on teeth brushing for a couple days, the police won't know. It's overwhelming to realize all the decisions (and then enforcing of them) I have to make every second/minute/month. It's easy to let a few too-much-TV days pass, before realizing no, this isn't really how I want the days to go. And pull it back.
In my middle school gym, there was a sign that said "Character is doing the right thing when no one's watching." Never did anyone make fun of that more than me, but obviously it made an impression because I'm talking about it 20 years later. But, yes, that exactly.
Clay gives me the lead in the parenting department and while of course he'd stop me if I turned into some loon handing Harper marshmallows for all meals and a rifle in her bed, he trusts me and she trusts me and the weight of that can feel enormous.
2. The most annoying?
SLEEP. Or lack thereof. You will never, ever get enough of it. Ever. It can feel borderline claustrophobic, like you just can't get out from under the fatigue. It's still so strange to me that I get up at 5:00 everyday and somehow function. I am a complete night owl and my body is just not okay with Harper's arrangement of our mornings.
And -- oof I find really annoying all the little, tiny details that have to get done. This is not my strength in life. Like: Washing the sippy cup and its gross, smelly straw parts before bed, getting her diapers and wipes stocked and in the right places (it drives cc crazy that I'm always functioning with approximately 5 diapers on hand), all the many many clothing changes and washings -- wrestling into slippers when we're home, another pair of shoes when we're out, packing the right combo of snacks and distractions for where we're headed. And in general, I'm the only one who can pull it all off. I know where everything is, exactly what she likes, and how to do it fastest. If I dropped dead tonight/tomorrow (you know, from another ice pick headache), I'm quite confident cc and other family members would pull it together. But in the day-to-day, I'm-still-alive scenario, it's me handling the near constant micro managing of a toddler's life. Whew.
3. The most rewarding?
This one is tough! Of course the smooches and hand holding. And watching all the learning and jumps in cognitive stuff and how we can talk over our day now during bath. But I'm going to go specific instead of general. I love the moments where we're like two real people, not in the grind of everyday stuff, having a good time.
It's so incredibly fun to see how all the work/time/energy we've put into her pays off in getting to have an awesome time together. In Denver, when she was probably 18 months or so, we had this afternoon of stopping by a bakery and sharing a cupcake and a grape soda, each in our own white plastic seat. She was so happy and giggling and we were taking turns sipping out of the same straw and the sun was shining on our hands and it was pure fun. That was the first time I really remember that feeling of "She's not a baby, we can DO stuff!" It was a total parenting epiphany and something lifted off my shoulders that day.
And this is weird probably, but I love shopping as a family. We love going to IKEA or grocery shopping or whatever with her because she is so psyched to be treated like a big kid. She walks all around, we get her a chocolate milk, we chat. Or the other night, she couldn't fall asleep and so as a (totally not normal treat because I'm kind of a hard ass at nighttime) we let her come downstairs, make popcorn with us, and watch Modern Family. She was so so so happy. I cried. Ha! So yeah -- the whole getting through the really hard baby months (and months) where they are so yummy, but also just kind of a semi-blob ... and seeing how it culminates into the creation of a hip little sidekick is great.