Thursday, August 25, 2011

Imperfections

As a little girl, I loved dolls. I played "mom" but never really cared to have anyone fill the role of the father. I never really dreamt about being someone's wife. The idea of marriage seemed so far off and foreign... but, oh, I could not wait to be a mother. I used to say I wanted 10 kids (of course, this is before my little brother came along ;). One birthday I even remember receiving special diapers small enough to fit my dolls, and I was elated.

Funny thing is, until recently, I never had any idea how much that child's play impacted my way of thinking as an adult. I'm sure there are many ways to psychoanalyze this situation, and I have. But I'll just say that I've put too much pressure on myself to try to be "the perfect parent". The first person to point this out was my husband's uncle, who is a psychiatrist. :D

I'm not playing the martyr. Believe me, I have failed plenty of times. The funny thing is, it seems I failed the most when I was trying my best to not make any mistakes. I don't want Mirabel to look back on her childhood and ever doubt that I loved her--that's been my greatest driving force.

I'll get down to the heart of the matter. I'm tired. Really tired. But I've allowed myself to let my fear get the best of me, so it's really my own fault that I'm so tired. I've read so much conflicting data on the best way to get a little one to sleep thru the night. Not to mention, I'm bringing my baggage along with me, so I'm too scared to try anything. I've made so many excuses, but I've finally decided that I really do know what's best for my kid. Not the most enlightening discovery, but to me it is. I've doubted myself too much. Now I'm making a decision and sticking to it...because it's what's best for EVERYONE, not just my kid.

That's what I wasn't taking into account before. Mirabel still sleeps in our bed. Poor Jose has started sleeping on the twin mattress that was supposed to be Mirabel's!!! My desire to be a good mother should not conflict with my duty to be a loving wife. Jose has been so understanding, and he never complains. He knows my heart, and in the end he just wants us all to be happy, so he has never said anything. A discussion I was having with a friend over the sleep issue is what brought my role as a wife to the forefront, and I'm glad it did.

I don't mean to sound like a 1950s housewife. I'm not trying to say that it's my duty to make sure to keep my husband happy (LOL). That's his responsibility (and, thankfully, I'm married to someone who knows that). But marriage is a holy sacrament. If Mirabel sees how I let her sleep in our bed, instead of her dad, she will grow up to believe that husbands should come last.
A strong marriage creates the foundation for a strong family. Without it, everyone suffers.

Jose and I are happily married. I love him more now than the day we got married. I don't remember the last serious disagreement we got into, but I want our relationship to grow even more. I want to be that old couple in love, the ones who still hold hands after 50 years of marriage. But if I want that later, I have to do something now.

I'm not going to take the complete Cry It Out approach. But I'm also not going to let Mirabel sleep in our bed and munch at Mom's 24 hour Diner until she's 10. I'm also not judging anyone, though. There will be a few tears, but I will comfort her. I'm sure more of those tears will come from me. But this is what's best for EVERYONE.

I didn't even realize that I was idolizing motherhood. Because of how tired I am, I often fall asleep before thanking God for his many blessings. Jose and I started doing Bible readings together, but by the time Mirabel goes to sleep, my eyes are already pretty heavy. It's true that a strong marriage creates the foundation for a strong family. But God is supposed to be the one that keeps it all intact. I know he wants my attention, too.

So tonight starts my version of sleep training. I'm so tired of reading books/articles. In the end, we're just doing what works for us and makes us all better people, not perfect people.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Keeping it Colorful

I think I'm settling in to an official life routine now. Jose started work last Monday (they told him only a week before that he'd be starting early :). That same first day of work he called me and said he'd be leaving for Boston in 2 hours! I wanted to laugh. He got home Wednesday, and now he's working Monday-Friday. Most mornings Mirabel and I spend time with friends/go to a playdate. This morning we attended a mom's support group hosted by our church. It was really lovely.

They're discussing a book called The New Strong-Willed Child by James Dobson. I've been meaning to read that book. Oh, so many books I'm "meaning" to read :). I had to laugh at one point in the discussion when the leader mentioned that you know you have a strong-willed child when you're shopping and the grocery cart doesn't travel in a straight line, because you're constantly going this way and that with your kiddo. Conversely, if you have an easy kiddo you can shop while eyeing everything on the shelves instead of your kid's next move.

Mirabel is full of life. That's how I like to put it. Her highs are high and her lows are low. So when she's happy, she'll smile and laugh and talk up a storm (in her own language, of course). But when she's unhappy... Everyone knows about it. Eyes turn at the store. The grocery cart practically tips over ;). There are things flying off the shelves, or she's screaming in the cart because I won't let her participate in the shopping.

Last week I visited a fabric store and the lady there was so anxious. Well, I think Mirabel might've had something to do with it. They had spools with different colored threads lined up like a rainbow in a cute case. What curious, lively child wouldn't want to play with such an arrangement? :) Oh, it was heaven for Mirabel. Not so much for the tattoo-covered hipster at this fabric shop, nope. She ran from behind the counter to where Mirabel was before Mirabel could even get her sticky fingers on a second spool. Of course, I was right there. And, of course, I was going to put them back the way they were. Moms develop a superpower of being able to scan a store's setup in a flash, so they can leave the store just how they entered it. It's because they know their tasmanian toddlers are going to get into one or two (or three) things during the shopping trip, am I right? ;)

You're probably wondering why I didn't just keep her in her stroller. Well, this store isn't stroller friendly; it's tiny. Also, there was a sewing class taking place (and there was also a sign explaining that all visitors needed to keep their voices down). I had to pick: Screaming or Playing with Spools. When I picked Mirabel up after the hipster expressed her fears about the spools, she began to scream (Mirabel, not the hipster). I ignored it and tried asking this young lady a few questions about the sewing classes they offered, since I was interested in taking one or two. She then proceeded to say, "I'm sorry, I can't talk over the screaming". I'll end it there. But this is just an explanation of a typical day with my kiddo. Of course, at home she's easy (because I've baby-proofed the whole place, so that she can explore every corner of the house--and she does).

I really needed a drink after that. By drink I mean a milkshake from Sonic ;). I got my sugar fix and drove off. My hair was standing on end, but I still felt that having a cute baby is better than having cute fabric, any day. I'd be so much lonelier without Mirabel. Yes, I'd have friends and more free time, but I wouldn't be quite as complete. This doesn't take back the fact that I do believe she is strong-willed. That personality trait will come in handy; she definitely won't ever be known as a push-over, that's for sure. For now, it's all about teaching her how to use that character of hers for good, while I guzzle down the milkshakes...

And enjoy happy hour (aka naptime. I saw that on a shirt once. "Naptime is the new happy hour." ;)

This is what I've been doing during happy hour.

Jam jar vase covered with fabric, for more color in the living room.

Mixed media collage. I love Christy Tomlinson's stuff. Granted, this doesn't compare, but her work inspired it :).

Pillow in the front. Also for more color in the LR. The back pillow was purchased at an antique store a few weeks ago.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Update on Life

Life has been full lately. Visiting with family, quality time with my dear husband (who, sadly and happily, starts work this Monday), and enjoying lots of warm weather. It's been a little rough too. We're still trying to figure things out--parenting is a constant learning experience and tantrums in stores are becoming a common occurrence, because we have a curious toddler who loves to touch everything. But at home, all is well. I've actually started crafting a bit more during nap time. These are two recent projects. Fabric flower headbands with a touch of a pink frilly feather; beneath that, a collage on wood made with mod podge, fabric, and scrapbook paper. Have I mentioned I like nesting dolls ;)?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Perfect

Found this shared on FB...tear-jerker. More here.
 

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