So much of parenting for me has been a constant process of learning, then re-learning, then un-learning, then learning the same thing all over again.
It's an unending stream of daily choices, and of re-evaluating my approach toward my children, tweaking it ever so gently to fit our family right. Am I being too soft? too stern? pushing too hard? not enough?
Parenting Audrey lately has come pretty naturally lately. It's my second time around, after all, so my feet feel a bit more firmly planted in how I want to mother a young toddler.
But for Juliet, here are a couple of the things I've been figuring out. It's probably a boring read to anyone but myself, but these are the things that occupy my mind these days. I am literally losing brain cells by the day between and I can't even tell you the name of Mitt Romney's running mate (seriously.) but every single detail of my childrens' well being runs through my mind day and night, such as:
Preschool: Juliet is in preschool 1 day per week, for 4 hours. The goal for me, was that she would enjoy the socialization and learn some of the structure of a classroom, while also allowing me a short time per week to "only" have one child to care for. I thought that this would come especially helpful once the new baby is born, so it would be best to start now and get her accustomed.
Well, I am just not sure if I've made the right decision. She cries so hard and desperately at drop-off every single time. This morning, all she could say in the car was, "Me want to go home. No school." It's heartbreaking. Her teacher assures me that the hysterics don't last long and then she enjoys the rest of the day. And sure enough, when I come pick her up, she is peacefully playing and following the teacher. So I wonder now, should I have waited to put her in? Or should I put her in 2 days per week instead of just 1, so it's not "new" every single week? Or should I just let it be? I want her to thrive in her environment. And I don't want to force the preschool atmosphere before she is ready (even if the other kids her age may be).
So there's that.
And then there's our milk fiasco.
Operation 'No More Milk': Juliet's comfort item is milk. And I have allowed that, and possibly even encouraged it. She goes to sleep with a sippy cup full of milk even though I really have always known that wasn't a good idea (dentally speaking, at least). Well, her sleeping habits in the last two months have gone from great to crap. Juliet has slept through the night since before she was 1 year old, unless she was very sick/teething. Well, lately she has been waking about 3 times per night and insisting on having her milk to go back to bed. If she gets the milk, she goes back to sleep. The trouble is that she has been drinking over 48 ounces of milk per day with this routine (24-32 during day, 16-24 during night). Whether the milk is organic or not, this is simply just too much milk.
So last night I began my Operation. When she went to bed, I gently reminded her that we don't drink milk at night anymore. She nodded sweetly. And then when she woke at midnight, and asked for her milk. Long story short- the night was a nightmare. She was awake from midnight until 3 am, in absolute hysterics over the lack of milk. When she gave up asking for milk, she obsessively turned on her lights and asked to watch cartoons (at 2 in the morning! that's a new one for us). After a couple hours, I unscrewed all her lightbulbs. She eventually cried herself to sleep.
I feel so unsettled about this whole thing. I truly don't know the right way to handle it, and it's hard being the mean mom who's frantically unscrewing lightbulbs at 2 in the morning while her daughter clutches her leg and wails for milk. It just sucks.
I asked my Internet 'mom friends' and everyone has their own opinion. But in the end, I'm her mom, and I'm supposed to know best. But sometimes I don't know what that means, exactly. And I guess that's what being a parent is all about, right?