Yesterday proved a challenging and enlightening day with my daughter. Significantly, she turned 17 months to the day. Our mornings usually have a pace to them; wake up slowly with snuggles, play with a few toys as mommy fixes up a quick warm breakfast, eat said breakfast together, then begin to get ready for a walk to the park so we can run around, go down slides, play peekaboo from behind trees and poles. Yesterday, I instead took my daughter to the store after an early breakfast so that I could buy finger paint and construction paper so that we could have a creative morning together — something a little different for a foggy day that later turned to downpour. My daughter, bless her, wished only to run free around the store so that she could touch everything in sight. Of course I could not let that happen, and I think for the first time, we were truly at odds because she refused to even let me compromise with her. The waterworks, the dramatic plops onto the floor, the protest. We should have turned around and left. Somehow we made our purchases and made it back home, not without a few sympathetic looks. At the time, I did not want to give up control to a baby — which in my mind, looked like returning home without accomplishing what we set out for. My daughter did not want to give up control to anyone — which probably looked to her like sitting in that awful shopping cart seat, or having to hold my hand while we walked through the store. At odds. Probably the first of many times to come in our lives together, but hopefully I can learn to handle these situations with a little more grace and less frustration in the future. Go home, it’s finger paint after all! To her defense, she does appear to be teething yet again. A painful time can make anyone less cooperative and cranky.
I have also noticed that Piper has become more interested in helping me around the house. Yes, you read it right! She tries to fold laundry. Actually, if I simply ask her to help me with the laundry, she becomes excited because she knows it involves lots of clothes and bundles that she can walk across the house to put away. She really seems to love being assigned a task, and the proud feeling that comes with accomplishing it. Who doesn’t? Though at not quite a year and a half, I’m impressed.
I’ve also thought to myself recently, where has my own inner child gone? The true wild, carefree and giddy spirit that every child lives in. I touched upon it recently during her bath time, splashing her and making faces until I myself was laughing with her. The bliss of that moment! I really felt connected with her. Over the years I’ve somehow instead cultivated the ascetic in me — stillness, cleanliness, order. Maybe too much control! Life with my daughter (and sometimes my husband) has shown me enough beautiful chaos that I’m beginning to know it intimately, and perhaps from that, balance will come and my own inner child will emerge.