The nap battle (which I’m winning, by the way) is the most striking measure so far.
Truthfully, if Braxton had fought naps like this a year ago, it would have not only consumed me, but I would have had way more tears or anger.
Although I don’t like it, I have spent more time laughing than crying about it. The perspective I have gained in dealing with the constant changing nature of parenting is the true victory, a victory over me.
Celebrating this growth has helped me realize other personal milestones I have had over the past two and a half years.
1. Bodily fluids. Early on, I had a very negative reaction to being spit up, pooped or peed on. The reaction, especially to spit up, was so knee jerk that Anthony felt the need to be prepared to catch him, in case I launched him across the room. I told Anthony that I didn’t care if I wasn’t mom of the year for not liking to be puked on, unlike many others who acted as though being spit up on was an honor; scoffing at my offer of a towel, as though they hadn’t truly spent quality time with Braxton unless they left stained with his puke. I saw my growth one day this past fall when Braxton started erupting with vomit while I was holding him. I didn’t quickly move him off me. I held him, reassured him and barely even reacted. Go me.
2. Parenting Philosophies. I recently shared a joke post on Facebook recommending a new parenting technique I have embraced, it is known as the CTFD method, which stands for Calm the F*** Down. It works quite well. I have realized the very fact that I THINK about the parenting decisions I make and their consequences is probably enough most of the time, even if they aren’t ultimately the right decision. (That’s even a phrase I hesitate to say, is there really a definite right and wrong in most parenting situations?) Maybe just the best “right” at the time.
3. I no longer stalk Braxton on the stairs, the playground or any surface higher than a pillow off the ground. When Braxton was learning to walk and first showing signs of being able to climb beyond the floor, I had almost an intractable reaction to follow him and catch him in case of a fall. I would be telling myself and everyone around me that it would be OK if he fell, that he WILL FALL someday and, actually, he needs to fall sometimes, but it was so hard to put that into action. I recently outwardly celebrated staying off the playground equipment while he was climbing around on it, by saying, “look how big I am!”
There is still a lot I need to work on, but right now I am focusing on how far I’ve come.
I am a scrap-booker and enjoy putting together pages that attempt to capture the moments of our life with Braxton. But, I am also trying to take the time to unceremoniously recognize my strides as a parent. There is no chart on the wall to mark my progress, but taking the time to note it now will be important as Braxton continues to grow beyond that tiny bundle in my arms. His milestones are always bittersweet in many ways. I reminisce my favorite moments; await the joy of what is to come and anticipate the challenges we will face as we both continue to grow.
* * *