I had an interesting revelation while I was at a friend's party last night. I was in the playroom with Middle and Baby and a few other parents and children. There was a little girl who was the same age as my Middle boy (Terrible Two) playing, and her mommy was watching her. This little girl is an only child right now--her mommy is pregnant with #2--so this mommy is a first-time mommy. Anyway, the little girl grabbed a play cupcake and started to lick it. After she was told repeatedly by her mommy to just "pretend to lick it", she deliberately kept REALLY licking it. So her mommy contined to keep harping on her to JUST PRETEND, and the little girl kept REALLY licking it. Finally the mommy took it away from her. So what do you think happened? Miss Terrible Two had a raging tantrum right then and there. The whole entire time as I was watching, I just kept thinking to myself, "Ummm...if you just IGNORED her, she'd probably STOP licking the damn thing!"
So my revelation was that I realized I'm WAY past being a first-time mother. With almost 5 years of mommy experiences from 3 very different boyz , I can now look back and recognize all the (now) silly things I worried and stressed about the first time around. Here's a sampling:
1. I've learned to pick my battles. If Middle wants a particular color cereal bowl, I will switch it for him, rather than witness a crying fit first thing in the morning before I've had caffeine. If Eldest wants to switch his pajamas right before bed, I let him, instead of dealing with a bedtime meltdown. If Baby wants to empty a kitchen drawer, I allow him to make a huge mess of the pots and pans. He's quiet, he's safe and it buys me a possible 10 whole minutes to ingest some more caffeine!
2. Kids will eat when they're hungry. I have given up trying to force feed nutrition into little bodies. When Eldest was a baby, I was always worried that he wasn't eating enough. Since that time, I've gotten much more laid back. These days, just when I think Baby has eaten his entire meal, I pull him up out of his booster and the entire meal that he's dropped onto his lap falls right on the floor. I usually just let him get down and eat off the floor at that point.
3. Kids can work things out on their own. I find it annoying when parents hover over their playing children. I love having social interaction with other mothers when my children have playdates. I feel no desire to even go near the vicinity of the playroom unless I hear screaming and/or crying.
4. No more information overload. When Eldest was a baby, I must have read 100 parenting books. I knew when he was "supposed" to roll over, crawl, walk and talk; what he "should" weigh at each checkup; when he "should be" potty trained and out of a crib, etc...and I did my best to see that he met each of these milestones at the "appropriate" time. I have since relaxed quite a bit. Middle is definitely not potty trained, nor is he in a big boy bed yet (he's still only 2 yrs, 4mos old). And I while I see getting rid of the crib sometime this year, I have a feeling that potty training won't be quite so easy. And as for Baby? He's 15 months and still not talking. Why would he? Everyone else speaks for him. And you know what? I'm not at all worried about it. He's the only one in my household who doesn't talk back! He knows NO animal sounds (we've tried), NO body parts (for every body part we ask him, he always points to his eye...) and still only has 5 teeth! Somehow I have a feeling he knows he's the last one and he's determined to keep the title of "baby" for as long as he can!