A Happy Place

25 Aug

Sometimes I feel like I’ve broken up with my oldest daughter.  We used to be an inseparable pair – quite the couple.  But now any time I have alone with her is usually spent bribing and begging her to be quiet lest she wake the napping baby.  And when the baby is awake, I play referee while protecting them from each other and attempt to balance their needs with mine.  On top of all of that, she’s three.  So. Very. Three.  It’s exhausting and intense, and I know that No1 feels that emanating from my moods.

She thought she was really driving the car. It was so much fun to watch her concentrate on making each turn and avoiding the other “drivers.”

So two Saturdays ago, we spontaneously packed a day bag for each kid and told No1 we were going to a special surprise.  One of my clients was kind enough to give me some comp tickets to a local amusement park (have I mentioned lately how much I love my job?) so we left the baby with the grandparents and took No1 on a date.  I needed to remember what it was like to just have fun with her…with no baby to interrupt us or divert our attention from her.  She spent the whole ride insisting we tell her where we were going and making both ridiculous and reasonable guesses, which was honestly half the fun.

She was shy at first; weary of all the noise and new sights.  But within 10 minutes, she shocked me by going on a ride all on her own!  We spent 4 hours playing games, eating cotton candy (which took quite a bit of

She got a lunch consisting of ice cream and cotton candy. Best. Mom. Ever.

convincing to get her to try at first), and taking her on rides.  It was an amazing day.  She held our hands and tugged us from ride to ride.  She marveled at the carnival games and was thrilled by the two tiny prizes she won.  And I remembered how much fun she is, how full of wonder and innocence.

It’s been hard feeling so connected to the baby after my PPD with No1 stole that bond from me.  Sometimes I feel like I’m not being fair to either child – like there’s not enough of me to go around.  But Saturday? We were enough for each other.  And that’s enough for me.


Flying high on the Mini Dinos ride! I love her expression.

9 Responses to “A Happy Place”

  1. danielle (@VelveteenMama) August 25, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    Oh, I totally get those feelings! I’ve been feeling so disconnected from my 7yo lately and really missing the bond I used to have with her (a bond I struggled to grow and maintain that has taken a HUGE hit since the toddler was born). It’s hard not to beat myself up about it and it’s hard to find time/energy to rebuild. It’s great you were able to take that time for #1, what a wonderful day for all of you 🙂 xoxo

    • learnedhappiness August 27, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

      I’m so glad I’m not alone. But sad that you know how I feel. I, too, struggled to bond with No1 and feel devastated that it feel some days like it’s slipping away.

  2. Alison August 26, 2012 at 3:59 am #

    Susan, the first paragraph? It’s like you were at my house and looking in on us. Because that’s how it was for us.

    I miss my first boy and our solo time together SO MUCH. But I know that baby boy #2 needs me too, and I try to balance their needs out. We’re not perfect, but we try our best, and really, that’s all we can do, right?

    • learnedhappiness August 27, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

      Isn’t it hard? Especially because the baby’s needs are so much more pressing. Sometimes I have to remember that the baby can wait, too.

  3. tranquilamama August 27, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    Susan, this was exactly how I felt with my oldest. Now we do special things while the toddler naps. Yesterday we made banana bread together. Every few months or so, we go out on a date. I took her to see her first musical.

    • learnedhappiness August 27, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

      I try to do special things with her, but between working, house-keeping, and self-care, I struggle to fit it in. Sometimes little things mean the world to her…sometimes they don’t seem to make a difference. I just try to do my best.

      • tranquilamama August 28, 2012 at 10:53 am #

        You are doing your very best. It’s a matter of finding what little things she appreciates the most. I started asking the oldest. She’s ready for another movie date with me soon.

      • learnedhappiness August 29, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

        I should just ask her, huh? Oddly enough, I hadn’t thought about that. She’s asked for more “family time” but I’m just not sure where to find the time for it.

  4. jamesandjax August 28, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    I have only one kiddo, but I can imagine how moms of two feel, thanks to your post. So happy you had such an awesome day together! xoxo

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