I’ve been going on a bit of a shopping spree lately, Not ACTUAL shopping, with my legs, and feet. And with other people milling about. No, no. I do most of my shopping online. I let my fingers do the walking.
Why do I do this?
I have two kids under 3. No amount of special deals for no amount of super amazing sweater vests would entice me to drag them and my tired butt anywhere near an ACTUAL department store. Or the MALL!? Ugh forget it. I’d rather get my teeth pulled with inappropriately sized pliers by a dentist with dubious credentials.
So anyway normally that works out fine except Ellie isn’t a size 7 shoes anymore. Cue me sending Two (TWO) pairs of shoes back before I clued in she needed a bigger size.
Anyway, I finally dragged myself to Target and once I got past the reams of protestors (3) I finally got her some cute shoes. Size 9. She skipped 8! What am I feeding this kid!?
Oh, you’re wondering about the protestors? Me too. The sign said…”Ask me why women are afraid to use the bathrooms.” I’m like…ah…I’m a woman. I’m not scared.
I didn’t stop the crazy to ask but after asking around I’ve found out Target is letting transgender people use their washrooms? Or something? I don’t know. Let’s just stop going to group bathrooms and everyone will be pleased. We can each go pee in our own little private washroom. Most places have ‘family’ washrooms like this anyway. Come to think of it, Target has it for sure. I use it when I’ve got the kids with me because Ellie is afraid of the toilet flushing. (The sound, that she’ll be flushed away too? It’s unclear.) So I’m really not sure what the problem is. Bill’s work as individual washrooms that are open to boys AND girls. What a concept.
Anyhoo, in other exciting new I joined the Y this week. Ellie, adorably, calls it the Wifi. As in, “Are we going to the Wifi mommy?”
They have babysitting included in the price of their memberships. ‘Nuff said.
Friday I just wandered around with my headphones on, amazed to be kid-free while the sun is up. I peed. ALONE! Then I peed again. Because I could. And because Benji had been up a lot last night and I may have had too much coffee…then I went to the sauna. Ahhhhh.
Fully dressed, with my iPhone and plastic headphones that were getting softer and softer as I lingered. I stayed until I thought my headphones may actually sustain heat damage, just before they melted out of my ears, and I went back and got my kids.
Ellie was just shy of hysterical. It had been exactly 18 minutes.
She feels big. New places and people throw her into a panic. Being dropped off at a care center where she’s only seen once or twice (I took her a couple times first before I left her) will bring a terror-filled tantrum raining down on us the caliber of which I would expect if she had suddenly discovered spider-aliens roosting in her eyelashes.
Luckily there were no men in the care center. Men, with their long legs and loud voices totally overwhelm her delicate sensitivities.
Ok I feel like I’m making fun of it, a little. Really I’m not. Her feelings are real and they’re overwhelming to her. I feel like there is a kit of tools out there to help her cope with these feelings but I don’t have access to it. Not much scared me as a kid. Not much scares me now. Her huge feelings kind of mystify me.
I feel like there’s a lesson in here for me. There is something my tiny girl with the huge feelings is trying to tell me.
I don’t think avoiding all the situations that trigger her big feelings is the answer. Avoiding anything new is a terrible (and unhealthy) not to mention impossible way to live. Change is life. Life is change. It will be constantly fluxing from new situation to new situation for her whole life. I need to make sure she has the tools to cope with that.
Right now I feel like I’m kind of throwing her in the pool without teaching her how to swim.
I don’t know. I don’t have the answer. I prep her as much as I can. (Mommy isn’t leaving. Mommy is in the next room. Mommy will only be in the next room for an hour class…) I go around and introduce her to the workers, I show her Ben in the next room. I play with her for a bit (and usually another kid or two.) I show her around to the blocks, the books. I show her where I’m going to be on our way in.
I’m still on my 21 day meditation on hope. I have HOPE things will get better and we can work through her big feelings as they come.
And there are encouraging signs. Sometimes she doesn’t cry when I drop her off at the mommy’s day out program. Last weekend we went to a birthday party and she actually went right up to the face painter and asked her to paint her face! And SAT THERE in front of a STRANGER while she painted her face.
I was stunned.
Ellie was happy.
And I thought, I feel like I’m doing EVERYTHING wrong, that I might be the worst mom on the planet and yet…she’s doing better. She’s growing up. She’s feeling more confident.
And then, GASP. Self revelation. I am NOT confident. I’m nervous in new situations and I’m shy around new people. I don’t scream and cry hysterically but I’m not comfortable. I do tend to avoid those situations.
And then, GASP. We’re back to everything is my fault and I’m totally screwing up this parent thing but I do have hope that the pure strength and force of my love will make up for all my failings. I’m not perfect, but I do love big. There’s hope for her (and Benji) yet…
“Hope is the sun. It is light. It is passion. It is the fundamental force for life’s blossoming.” Daisaku Ikeda.