28 July 2005

The Worst and The Best

Why does it always seem like the worst moments I experience as a parent are followed by some of the best? It can be an exhausting rollercoaster.

Here's the latest: Last night my father offered to babysit so my husband and I could go out. We made plans to have dinner with some friends. I was sure to give Zoë fair warning about this so it wouldn't come as a complete surprise. As a matter of fact I told her about it yesterday morning and she seemed excited about having her "Papa" babysit. Probably because he lets her have all the candy she wants.

Last night as we were trying to get ready to go and I was going over the basics (brush teeth, go potty, etc.) with my father, Zoë was swinging around these plastic beaded necklaces rather violently so I told her to stop swinging them. About two minutes later one of the necklaces went swinging by my head. I turned to Zoë and said much more sternly, "Stop swinging the necklaces around or I am going to take them away." A complete throw yourself on the floor whining, and whimpering pout ensued and it was such a show. She just kept carrying on so finally I picked her up and took her into the next room to talk to her. While I was trying to explain that she could have hurt herself or someone else with the necklace, she started playing with something else and I told her to stop and pay attention to me and when she didn't my frustration got the better of me and I yelled at her. Of course, this made her cry. And then she really dragged out the whole scene to the point that we were now running late for dinner. Finally, I had to just leave her at the door hysterically crying. I really hate that.

It took me a good hour or two to relax and start to enjoy my evening out. I know she was probably tired and weirded out by the change in routine and all of that, but it was just such a messy scene that it really left me feeling badly. Like I must be a terrible parent.

Switch to this morning: Around 6:30 am a sleepy-looking tousled-hair Zoë comes wandering into my bedroom. "Good morning Mommy. Can you get me some milk?"
"Sure," I said getting up. "Just give me a minute to wake up." Zoë then wanders out and a few minutes later I make my way downstairs to find her sitting in her Blue's Clues Thinking Chair.
"What are you doing?" I asked her.
"Sitting in my thinking chair. Thinking."
"What are you thinking about?"
"You," she said so incredibly sweetly. And I kind of felt like it was her way of apologizing. Maybe I am reading too much into it, but I really don't think so.

The rest of the morning proceeded without a hitch. She got dressed without complaint, actually ate some cereal for breakfast and when I dropped her off at daycare she gave me a big hug, a big kiss, and a big smile and then she ran off to play. It was the easiest drop-off I've had with her to date. I got back in my car feeling like I had such a good and happy kid -- like I must be doing something right.

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