Wrestling alligators…

Okay, yes this blog is still about my adventure in mommy-hood…but I’m convinced my son may be half lizard. Or platypus, snake, or any other animal that can somehow slink its way out of a tight spot before you realize it’s halfway gone.

I’ve said it before… I was a preschool teacher and a nanny. I have had my fair share of changing diapers, changing clothes, washing faces, putting socks back on, putting on coats, putting miniature mittens on, and digging random objects out of little mouths.

But for the life of me, I feel like I am dealing with an octopus every single time I have any interaction with my son. My husband and I have taken to putting a basket of random objects near the changing table just to entertain my son long enough so that he doesn’t smear the poop that has exploded in his diaper on his legs, hands, back, and sometimes face. Even then sometimes we fail miserably.

It takes twice as long to get my son’s pajamas on after bath then it does for me to make dinner most nights.

Even after removing his tray when he is finished eating, somehow Damian manages to find a food that he can smear all over his face after I have washed him down.

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I’ve let him run around in just his diaper during the winter because fighting him to get his shirt back on wasn’t worth the energy. I’ve learned he will come ask for his shirt when he gets cold.

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I couldn’t figure out why my cat’s food seem to be disappearing faster than it ever has in her entire 10 years of existence, until I realized my son thought it was snacks I put down at his level.

Maybe it’s because moms are inherently tired from waking three and four times a night to answer a crying child (after going to bed two hours after everyone else), from constantly struggling between housework and work-work (and in my case schoolwork as well), feeling like the definition of insanity because daily you do the same thing over and over expecting ONE day the house to stay clean, because your obligations, duties, responsibilities, chores, and others’ needs seem unending, and that the same thing I did years ago seems nearly overwhelming now. Maybe it’s because I got legit breaks then. Maybe it’s because (once again) my experiences only prepared me the way college prepares you for life: just minuscule enough that you aren’t blind sighted but not enough to truly be “prepared”.

Then this miraculous thing happened today. My son didn’t roll while I was changing his diaper. He didn’t fight me and cry when I was trying to get him dressed, and (the biggest surprise) he let me wash him after meals. Then I realized as I was telling my husband what I did differently today, was that I talked to my son. I didn’t yell or try holding him down, I didn’t chase after him and do a pretzel hold to try getting his shirt on. I literally, in my exhaustion and exasperation, said “Baby, PLEASE let mommy change your diaper. If you let me change you, then we can go play faster.”

It struck me like a tonne of bricks. I know he understands most of what I say, and instead of forcing him to do something I asked him. I let this little human know he had a choice. Small, and minuscule as his choice was, it was still his choice. I ASKED if he would let me help him. He chose to let me. We so often get in the parent mode of “I’m right, you’re wrong” without meaning to be condescending, that we are. We forget that if someone forced us day in and day out to do something, it would make us angry too. I’m not saying that tomorrow he won’t go back to rolling like a ‘gator who just caught his lunch…but for today his choice was to let me help. So today, life was a little more peaceful.

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