I read a parenting column today on phases and moments (that I wish I had written myself), and it's had me thinking a lot about how challenging these phases of raising a toddler can be. While the article made me laugh along with her and tear up towards the end, it also reminded me that when you are smack in the middle of one of the OMGwhen-will-it-end phases, it can be grindingly difficult going. We are rapidly cycling between a few of the choice phases, including the:
"I'm-going-to-put-everything-in-my-mouth-including-dead-bugs-and-stale-Cheerios-buried-in-my-car seat phase" and the "I'm-going-to-take-away-all-your-"me"-time-by-requiring-your-assistance-for-three-hours-to-go-to-sleep-every-night-for-a-month phase", followed by the "I-will-wake-up-at-6am-demanding-oatmeal-even-though-I-didn't-fall-asleep-until-11pm phase". Also, the "I-will-beg-you-to-read-the-same-book-to-me-12-times-a-day phase" and a combination of "I-will-run-into-everything-covering-myself-with-bruises-making-you-worry-that-someone-is-going-to-call-Child-Services-on-you phase" and the "I-will-climb-everything phase".
Norah is a challenge many days lately. She has boundless energy and the willfulness of a bull. She is curious and physically strong and capable enough of exploring just about anything she sets her mind to. She can also be so charming and gentle and I can already tell that she has the capacity for compassion in the way she treats the dog and her "babies" and each of us (when she wants to). All of these are characteristics that not only make her unique but will become the foundation of the personality she will develop as she becomes her own person. I want to spend more time capturing the moments and paying attention to the tiniest glimpses of who she is now, while she's still part baby yet rapidly turning into an independent soul. But seriously, in the midst of the above combination of OMGPhase, sometimes it's just really, really hard to stop and appreciate all of the Moments, ya know?
There are many, many moments (OK, days, phases even) when I worry that I'm failing her somehow, even in the tiniest ways. I want to be there for her, to provide her with the kind of blissful childhood I think everyone deserves. I don't want my worries to be hers, ever. In short, I want to protect her from adulthood and its realities when they aren't always rosy. And that, I think, is the hardest part about this gig, parenting...that I can't protect her from reality. Parenting has been the biggest reality check in all my life. And sometimes, the moments are hard to swallow. And sometimes, they are purely awesome.