Wednesday, March 12, 2014

It's just a phase.

That's what I keep reminding myself these days.  This wisdom was passed on to me from my good friend, Miquelin, when I was struggling as a first time mom.  I don't think she realizes how much this advice meant to me, but it seems like I refer back to it regularly.

Ava was an exceptionally tough baby and toddler and to call me inexperienced as a new mom was being generous. Everyone else seemed to have their act together and their little ones were well behaved and smiley and typical.  Ava, on the other hand, was a force to be reckoned with. 

While other parents talked about how their babies fell right to sleep when the car started moving, Ava screamed and cried from the moment we put her in her car seat until the moment we got her out.

Other parents could enjoy a nice, quiet meal at a restaurant while their baby sat quietly in a high chair chewing on toys.  Tim and I took turns walking Ava around the restaurant while the other quickly inhaled their food.

Other parents bring all their kids to church and I watch them sit quietly and read a book or color a picture for the entire hour.  I am currently letting Ava's kindergarten teachers train her to sit quietly during church.

At the time when Ava was my only child, this really weighed on me.  Was I doing something wrong as a parent? What book can I read to "fix" this? Did Tim or I pass along some bad genes to Ava that would forever curse her and hold her back in life? (PS - Tim HATES it when I project how things will affect our kids in the future, but I can't help it!)  

Then one day during a casual conversation with Miquelin, she told me the "It's just a phase" advice that her mom had passed on to her.  She basically said that when your child is continually doing something that is frustrating and tough to handle, know that it's just a phase and they will grow out of it eventually.  Unfortunately, there will likely be a new, frustrating phase to follow.  But that too, will be just a phase.  As parents, we are here to help our kids navigate these phases and learn from them.

Knowing that everything was a phase was comforting to me.  It helped me realize that things (good or bad) wouldn't always be this way and while I didn't know when the bad phases would end, I could rest assured that Ava would eventually poop in the toilet and not in a diaper.

I now have 3 little girls and my youngest, Clara, is giving me a run for my money in her effort to ensure that she will be the baby of the family.  I can hardly remember the days when our families would say what a "perfect baby" she was.  So sweet and easy.  We have have entered a new phase.  One minute she will be climbing on top my desk chair to reach my cell phone and launch it across the kitchen and the next minute she is shrugging her shoulders to her ears, tilting her head and smiling like and angel.  She will have you seething while at the same time, wrapping you around her pinky finger.

The worst is her ear-piercing SCREEEEEEEAM that is used far too often for reasons that do not warrant such a shriek in my opinion.  
Ava takes her back pack from Clara while getting ready for school - SCREEEEEEEAM!
Sidney won't move off the tiny space that she's occupying on the huge couch - SCREEEEEEEAM!
I won't let Clara take everything out of the seven drawers in my desk - SCREEEEEEEAM!
Tim won't let Clara eat chocolate chips for lunch (again) - SCREEEEEEEAM!
Some random kid at the library wants to play with the only toy...and so does Clara - SCREEEEEEEAM!

The examples go on and on.  We are all sick and tired of hearing Clara scream.  I try to think on the bright side...maybe she has a future in "voice over screaming" work (constantly projecting as I do).  But then I'm reminded of the little yet important piece of advice from Miquelin: It's just a phase.  Never-the-less, I'm still going to let Clara's future kindergarten teachers train her to sit QUIETLY during church.  ;)

It's just a phase.
It's just a phase.
Love you Beans! xoxo, mom

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