364 Days of Mommyhood. Tomorrow, she's turning three. Three. WOW! Time flies. C is now in preschool, sleeping in a "big girl" bed, and taking ballet classes. She makes up stories, has friends, and is obsessed with all things art-related, pink, and/or sparkly. In other words, she's not a baby any more, a fact that makes me both proud and sad at the same time.
Anyway, in thinking over the last few years, I realized I'd learned some surprising additional truths about parenting.
1. It doesn't matter what you like; it matters what your child likes. In other words, if you like green, and your child likes head-to-toe pink, every day, who cares? It's not worth fighting over, especially when you're trying to get out the door. Let it go, and move on. Same goes for interests. If C decides some day that she wants to play the violin, fabulous. I know nothing about that, but would wholeheartedly support her if she fell in love with it. As C gets older, I'm reminded that she gets to make up her own mind about what she likes, and doesn't like, and that part of my job as a parent is to help her discover those things.
2. Patience is the ultimate virtue. If you've ever hung out with a preschooler for an extended amount of time, you know what I'm talking about. As funny and wonderful as C is, she's still a very little girl. And she gets tired and cranky and whiny, just like every other three year old. I've learned that yelling, prodding, bribing, and threatening to take away privileges generally falls on deaf ears when a tantrum is in full swing. Which brings me to my next point...
3. She'll be ready when she's ready. This goes for just about everything. Whether it's cleaning up, needing to leave, or transitioning to a new activity, springing something suddenly on a toddler is usually a bad idea. Conversely, lots of advance notice is a very good idea, and makes the whole situation much more pleasant for everyone.
4. Being silly is awesome. I mean this. C has a fabulously funny little sense of humor, and she's starting to understand that she has the ability to make people laugh. We goof around a lot in our house. Just this past weekend, we played freeze dance in our yard. For one fleeting second, I thought, "Yikes. Are our neighbors watching this spectacle?" And then I realized, I just didn't care.
5. I (still) love being a mom more than I thought possible (a carry-over from 2009). It's pretty hard to explain, but I'll sum it up with this: even if I
have had the worst day ever, when I pick up C from preschool and she
throws her tiny, sticky arms around me, nothing else really matters. Being a mom is more work than I ever dreamed, and yet infinitely more rewarding. And as C gets older, I realize that it's also a lot of fun.
Happy birthday, my girl.