You scratch them, right? I mean in general, that is a natural instinct. There are times of course when one must refrain such as during the chicken pox, various rashes, and even that nagging bug bite. Or perhaps, when it might make others uncomfortable? Molé had an itch today that evidently had to be scratched. Unfortunately its location was, um, not exactly in a place that one would desire her young daughter to scratch in public. But there we were at a very public venue set to watch a cute childrens’ play in the front row. Since the play went on all around us, there were fellow play watchers directly across from us who had the unfortunate experience of seeing a lot more of Molé than they had desired. Evidently to reach the itch, which by the way was actually on the upper thigh, dress had to be pulled up and panties yanked from side to side all within sight of the many patrons in the room. (of course the play hadn’t started so the lights were nice and bright). At any rate, definitely a moment where I shot some awkward smiles and glances to those around who most definitely had not planned on viewing anything x-rated that day. I guess we really need to work on that “keep your dress down in public” concept.
Well ladies and gentlemen, 3/4 of our family has officially migrated from the east coast to the west. The Doc will begin his trek Saturday morning as he and his dad drive 3,000 miles to our new home. While that drive sounded like TONS of fun with two little ladies in the back, we opted to have the women folk travel by plane, with a stop here at my parents’ home for a week in between. After an absolutely exhausting couple of days that included this momma having two breakdowns, picture incoherent sobbing me, and little sleep we made it. Thankfully, we all survived and our stuff is now on a truck somewhere between the old and the new.
I have been trying to talk with BQ throughout the process about what is happening and have asked her what she is feeling about the move. In all honesty, she seems fine. The only sign that something is amiss has shown up in the form of wet sheets in the middle of the night. (sigh). Otherwise, she is doing so well I cannot help but stand back a bit amazed. Molé on the other hand is struggling. My sweet girl has been clingy, weepy, and unpredictable. This morning after the girls had their first swim lessons, she was so distraught that I had to wrap her up in a towel in the locker room and sing to her for a good ten minutes. It might not sound odd, but this is something that I never do for her (and no it isn’t because I’m a cold hearted snake, it is because she isn’t into it and would much rather “do my self.”). Even sweet BQ sang a round of Twinkle Twinkle followed by a rousing rendition of ABC’s. That BQ is just delicious.
Anyway, watching my little girl grieve and process this huge change has made me think about my own grief process. So far, I think it has been a bit non-existent. I was so ready to just get on with the move after waiting a year. That’s right, we found out last June that we would be moving and then had another year to dig in and live where we were. I have been so fixated on the details and just getting it all done, that I haven’t really had a chance to sit down and think about the people I will miss or all that those three years back east meant to me and our family. Are there wet nights ahead for me? Perhaps, but I’m hoping for maybe a good cry with my mom instead because the laundry really isn’t any fun. At any rate, I figure if leaving isn’t a bit hard, what was the point and while I have no desire to live on the east coast again, there are some dear, dear friends who will definitely lure me back for a visit someday.
So more process. And more opportunities for great joys along the way. Sounds good to me.
The first time you get pregnant you don’t know what to expect. You buy books, or join online groups, follow each day meticulously. You would most likely know what fruit or vegetable your baby is the size of at any given moment and if asked, “How far along are you?” could answer “16 weeks and 4 1/2 days.” The process is fun. The second time you get pregnant is a bit different. You are excited to see the plus sign on the stick, but when that first wave of nausea hits, you all of a sudden have a sinking feeling in your gut and remember “oh goodness, how did I forget about THIS!?” What goes from being a fun process, or random science experiment taking place in your body, becomes symptoms, discomfort and seemingly endless waiting. Waiting is not something that we human beings do well, am I right?
I think this time around I am trying to recapture some of that joy in the process mentality that I had when I was pregnant with BQ. It is a bit easier right now since I am at 14 weeks and have entered a wonderful stage of the pregnancy. I feel great, I’m not huge and I like to eat. Am I eager for this babe to make his/her entrance, um yes. But I want to live these days as a family of four really well, and fully. Here we are about to move in FOUR days, how did that happen so fast, and are starting a new adventure together. The girls are at a great stage where we can eat at a restaurant fairly confidently, go new places with minimal gear and the tantrums are fewer and fewer each day. Come December, things will change and for a season some of the patterns and grooves of our current life will be forever altered. I can’t wait for the shakeup, to meet this sweet new baby that I’m already so in love with, and to watch the girls love on their new sibling. Have I mentioned that BQ frequently asks to “snuggle” with the baby and that the reason she wants to move west “tomorrow” is because that means it’s sooner to the baby coming out? Love her, how precious is that? And while I’m on the subject, she told me yesterday, “Mommy, I loved you even before I came out of your tummy.” Yep, I am definitely keeping that one.
At any rate, I think we all have times in our life, that have nothing to do with pregnancy, that are about waiting. Knowing that what we want will most likely happen but that there is a process we undoubtably must go through first. Expectant adoptive parents are professionals at this waiting game, but man isn’t the
JOY that we see in watching them meet their children for the first time better than just about anything? The deeper and longer the process, the greater the potential for joy. Doesn’t that make the wait totally worthwhile? I sure think so. Just like the times when I allow my tea bag to sit for just another minute are worth the tastier tea, savoring the process makes the result of just about anything in life a billion times richer and an even bigger celebration. So hang in there and get comfortable. Enjoy the ride.
Lately things with BQ have been difficult. Let’s just leave it at that. Her sweet four year old self has been living up to this age’s need to test all boundaries, push the limits of parental respect, and raise the sass-o-meter a couple notches. It took me by surprise and came at a horrible time. Being pregnant I am not exactly on my “A game” and mustering up the energy to offer her the consistent discipline, redirection and boundaries I had done in the past was hard. So, so hard. Rather than finding moments to teach her through the process, I found myself simply snapping, barking commands, and dishing out punishments. This was not good for either one of us and I found that after about two weeks of The Doc working nights without a real day off, not to mention the four days he was out of town, and the two of us in constant battle mode it was time for a change. Since I was too braindead to think of anything positive, I was grateful that it was The Doc who came through with a great idea.
A date night. Not for The Doc and I, but for BQ and I to reconnect and actually have fun. When I say that we had not had much or any fun together in those two weeks I am not kidding. Just like any relationship, when there is tension laughter and joy seem to be the first to go. I found a place where we could go for her to paint plaster pieces (side note that these pieces were so hideous. stick to the pottery places, people. luckily, she was none the wiser and thought they were amazing so it was fine.) It was unbelievable how the mood changed as the night progressed. She went from offering a bit of ‘tude to snuggling up to me at dinner. After three hours together she asked what else we could do “just the two of us.” I was able to focus all of my attention on her and we were reminded that we actually really like each other! What a gift.
In my parenting, I have found that whenever BQ’s behavior gets to be abysmal 9 times out of 10 we have fallen into what I call a “negative pattern.” Let me explain. BQ is a child who is wired to respond much more to praise than anything else. Maybe this is true for children universally, but when all I offer her is correction and punishment she flounders. She has a sticker chart where she receives stickers for good behavior. Never fails that when we are stuck in a negative rut I have not given out a single sticker for days. If I can recognize this, even though it is incredibly hard because I am usually way too frustrated to want to praise her, it is amazing what can happen. Even though I had been frustrated with her all morning, shifting gears to just focus on doing something light and fun was perfect. I had to get over my own frustrations and choose to enjoy my daughter. If I am going to be able to teach her and help her to develop the life skills that I am so desperate for her to learn, I have to love her at all times and with all behaviors. This part of mothering is so, so, so hard. There are times when I want to just throw up my hands and yell, “You are driving me CRAZY,” and run out the door. And yet, if I choose not to offer her forgiveness, or to not embrace her when inside it makes me cringe, I’m not ever going to have the impact I so desperately want. Did that that make sense? It’s an incredible image of the love that God has for us, isn’t it? When we are completely unloveable, He manages to find a way to embrace us and love us without reservation. Having received that kind of love, I have no choice but to offer it to these precious ones in my care.
So a different kind of date night has made all the difference. Are we still having our issues, of course. But my goodness has there been an improvement! I’m so grateful to have such a wise husband in this crazy parenting journey with me. Maybe next time I’ll take him out.