I read a Washington Post article yesterday about it being ok to admit you're not a baby person/kid person/toddler person, etc, and although I know this is true that it's ok to admit, I still feel like a monster admitting it, while still admitting it nearly all the time. It felt good to read that, and especially some of the solutions to "not being a toddler person" which consisted of "upping hours at preschool" or "having someone come in to help". For some reason I thought I was the only person doing this - basically shoving my kid off on someone else a few hours a week just so I don't lose my mind. As you know B is on the wait list for the three day afternoon program...but for just a moment I had the thought, imagine if he went all five days??? And I became so utterly delighted at the very thought of this, and how excellent my life would be, that I then had to ask myself...jeez, how miserable are you that the very idea of this makes you so happy?
Now, not that five days of preschool is even a possibility for us. I could never afford it and it's not like he could just get in any old time. But man...the very idea of not having to come up with tons of exhausting activities all day five days a week! To have him just in the morning and evenings! To have weekends that I look forward to instead of dread! It would be so awesome!
And then comes the guilt. All I see all day long is women desperately looking for work-at-home jobs so they can stay home with their kids; women bemoaning having to return to work after maternity leave; women trying to figure out their home lives so they can quit their jobs. Apparently I have what every woman wants. So why do I hate it so much?
Had another exhausting play date in a park today. B screamed his head off every time someone even looked at one of his toys. I got so fed up with the endless screeching that I found myself doing really unpleasant things like rolling my eyes in disgust. He definitely has an issue with possessiveness, and I hate to say it but it might branch back to now having to share his only parent with a sibling. With Theo reaching and grabbing things now, Bobby is none too pleased - and I can see a lifetime ahead of me of breaking up fights and negotiating rights over toys/books/clothes/stuff. And the very thought of that makes me want to crawl under the covers and never come out. Remember that memory I have of my aunt laying her head down on the kitchen table and sobbing because we kids just wouldn't stop squabbling? Is this my future? Don't say no because you know it is. And I walked right into it, willingly.
Right now I just feel like I suck. All I live for is bed time and the days B goes to school - ie, the times I get to myself. I enjoy little to none of the rest of my day at all. Everything - bathing, feeding, playing - all just feels like something to get through. And yet I try. I try so very hard. I look him in the eye. I keep my voice light and pleasant. I always consider things from his point of view. I respect his rights as a human being. I never tease, punish, or humiliate him. I sing songs. I ask questions about his toys. I let him have choices. I administer hugs. I tell him I love him every day. When he cries I comfort him and tell him I understand why he feels that way. And I am exhausted and fed up.
Where does the baby factor into all of this, you ask? Apart from consistently robbing me of a decent night's sleep, not at all - he's just a squishy, leaky little love muffin. Babies are so frigging easy. I think I can consider myself a baby person. How can you not love a baby? But toddlers - aghhhhhh!
When the littlest of my kids is seven, I'm going to rock this shit. We can have conversations, we can do interesting cultural things around town, I can teach them about good music and movies, we can go places. I'm going to be the best school-age mom ever. But right now? Not a toddler person. Not one bit.