Addi has humbled me as a parent. Before she came along I thought I was an amazing parent who knew just what to do in any situation. I didn't think I was a better parent than the next (ok maybe I did, just a little), but I really thought I had my shit together.
Aubrey was a hard newborn, but a really easy infant and toddler. She was calm and loved to be right next to me at all times. She listened like you wouldn't believe. I totally thought it was my approach on things that made her that way. I always talked things out so she knew what to expect and what I expected.
Here is an example: If we were leaving the park, I would give her a warning letting her know it was almost time to go bye bye, then when the time came to go I would take her hand and we would sweetly say our goodbyes to the slide, the swings, and everything in between. We would walk calmly to the car and she would climb in and help me buckle her car seat and we'd be on our way.
Fast forward to Addi as a infant/toddler (pretty much the moment she became mobile a whole new Addi emerged). I would give my warning and then I'd go to take her hand and she would scream bloody murder and let her body go limp (this is her favorite move), so I'd ask her nicely to please stand up and walk like a big girl, screaming continues. I then go to pick her up and flailing ensues. I try to calmly explain to her that it is time to go and we need to say our goodbyes. More flailing, she takes a few swings at my face, basically all around mayhem. By this point I am sweating bullets, people are staring, I am trying to stay composed. I try one more time to explain. Doesn't work. I resign to the fact that she is now too worked up to listen, I hold her under one arm (so she can't hit me) while she kicks and screams, Aubrey and I say our goodbyes and we rush to the car. Aubrey climbs in and buckles herself in, I place Addi in her seat, her body immediately stiffens and pushes forward. I ask her nicely to please sit in her seat. She is as red as can be trying her hardest to keep her body from sitting in the seat.(Addi is small but mighty) I try to gently push her bottom into the seat, no luck. Try a little harder, still not luck. I then use as much strength as I can without hurting her and finally, she's in her seat. I rush to grab the buckles before she stiffens up again, while dodging her flailing arms. Finally she is in. I get down to her level and try to talk to her about her behavior. She is too upset to listen, or maybe she just doesn't understand me. We then go on our way, and she cries the entire way home. I feel defeated, I feel like a horrible mother and I am drenched with sweat. Just awesome.
I wish I could say this was a once in a while occurrence, but change the place and the day and it's still the same story. Today was one of those days, Addi was a mess, not listening, throwing tantrum, just being plain disruptive. I used to look at misbehaving children and think that that would never be a child of mine. I thought I could handle anything. I was so wrong. Addi has shown me just how hard being a parent can be, and to have more compassion for others going through it. She has definitely knocked me down a few pegs.
I think as parents it is easy to get caught up in what we believe is the right and wrong way to raise a child. We compare ourselves to others. Even the nicest of people do it, it's human nature. We see someone doing something we would "never" do as a parent, and judge them for it. I had even wondered before having dealt with it myself, why parents weren't "handling" their kids. How could they possibly let their kid get away with behaving that way? Then on the other hand we see mothers who seem to have it all together (feeding their kids the healthiest food, making sure their kids don't watch tv or use electronic devices, having set educational activities for the day, have kids that listen, have time for crafting, never raise their voices, etc...) and feel bad that we don't do as much or parent as well as they seem to. All I know is we are all doing the best we can. Truthfully some days I feel like I am just surviving. I have to remind myself that as long as I am giving it my best, that is enough. I am there for my kids, I play with my kids, I love and adore my kids. At the end of the day that is what is important, and that is what Addi has taught me.