My daughter turned 4 yesterday. That can’t be right. Sigh. But it is. How in the world can she be 4 already? Well with birthdays comes reflection and so I’ve been looking back a lot this week. Of course my daughter has changed a lot in her four years, but I actually find myself thinking of how much I’ve changed in the last four years.
I’ve come a long way since my daughter was born. I was not a great mother to an infant. I kept her safe and I loved her immensely, but I did not handle my new role well. I was a nervous wreck. It drove me crazy when she wouldn’t sleep when I thought she should or when she wouldn’t eat the exact same amount she had the day before. I wanted to be relaxed about everything – to be a real “natural” at the whole motherhood thing. But I just wasn’t.
I wanted things to be predictable, but they never were. As soon as I would get the hang of one phase of infancy and start to feel myself getting into the groove, the phase would be over. Oh you’re finally feeling comfortable with a 5 feedings-a-day schedule? Time to switch to 4.
And it drove me crazy that she couldn’t tell me what was wrong. I’d hear people say that “soon you’ll be able to tell the difference between your baby’s cries. You’ll know the difference between the hungry cry and the tired cry.” Bull. It all just sounded like crying to me.
Being a new mother was unnerving. I compulsively read all the books, hoping that I could crack the mysterious code of motherhood. I lived, ate, and breathed my baby. At one point my sister had to have an intervention with me. “Put down the baby book and come have a drink with me.” It was necessary.
Flash forward four years and I feel like a different person. I truly LOVE being the mother of a preschooler. And I think I’m pretty good at it too. I allow our should-be-10-minute walk home from the store to take an hour because she wants to keep stopping to literally smell the flowers. I make up elaborate stories for my daughter starring “Princess Kiki” much to my daughter’s delight. I’ve convinced her that a spinach and strawberry smoothie is a special treat. I patiently explain to her that if she just calmly tells me she’d rather have a turkey sandwich than a pb&j that she’d probably get a better result than crying and stomping her foot. I ride around on a tiny scooter because she loves it when we can both zip around the driveway. I’ve learned to relax and have fun.
I’ve also learned to take some time for myself. I’m in a book club (well, book club “light” – we read articles instead of books). I go out with my friends and let loose. Hubby and I do trivia night once a week at a local bar while a sitter stays with Kiki. My sister approves.
Although I barely survived Kiki’s first year, I can say that I’ve really come into my own over these last 4 years. I’m proud of the girl my daughter has become and I’m proud of the mother I have become.
Happy birthday sweet baby girl!