Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I wish that I didn't have to set limits on my Tiff right now. I wish I didn't have to have all the hard work that comes with toddler-wrangling, just the fun stuff. Like catering to her every whim and chasing her around until she runs out of breath from giggling.

But that's part of the parenting gig. You have to be tough on the tough stuff. And not just tough, but consistent. There are certain rules that have to be followed, and while I'm not so fond of dealing with the reluctance of my girl to follow the rules, I'm less fond of the prospect that comes with a childhood of no rules. She's stubborn like I'm stubborn, and if she gets away with not following the rules than it's going to be even louder and harder later on. I think I can deal with the thought that Mean Mommy is my everyday identity. Fun Mommy only comes out when the rules are obeyed and her behavior is good.

Consistency. It's all about consistency. This will lead to a moderately well behaved child that I can take out in public. It's not a popularity contest. And even though Mean Mommy seems to be the bane of this child's existence and the author of every unloved decision and insistence- who does she run to when she bumps her head? Whose lap does she crawl into when she's tired, or doesn't feel well, or just wants to sit in front of her beloved Tubbies and veg? We spent a good 30 minutes in the Big Comfy Chair this morning, my lap completely filled with a long-legged wild-haired child. She tucked her legs to her chin, curled her shoulders over so her head fit under my chin, and snuggled. For the hope of these times I'll be Mean Mommy for as long as it takes. These times are the ones I remember when she screams at my feet because I won't do her bidding without the use of words. These times are the ones I remember when she throws her body against the walls rather than sit down and play quietly. These golden moments when my baby is in my lap and she smiles at me...

Those are worth every sleepless night. Every tear she inspires in me. Every bruise that her fists land on my shins. Just give me a golden moment every few days.

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