I get in these ruts where I read everyone’s amazing words and see everyone’s amazing art and feel like a fraud. As I type this, my husband sits next to me, his fingers clicking out a more sophisticated rhythm than mine. Clickity-clack go our dueling keyboards, as he writes a doctoral academic paper and I? I navel-gaze.
I should probably go wake the toddler. This late nap will cost me dearly come dark. Sometimes I’m a real asshole to future me.
Today was my daughter’s second visit to therapy. She likes it. I don’t think it’s enough to undo the years of damage I’ve done (I’m kidding, folks…kind of), but I do get the sense that she’s comfortable there and is trusting the therapy process. I keep telling myself that at the very least, she’s learning at a young age that there are places to turn when you need help with your emotional life.
We’ve done two things in the last week that have really helped and make me feel like some kind of parenting expert. But the truth is, that I muddled and then failed first. In fact, I crashed face first at times, right into a wall of fear and shame and anxiety. I guess that’s what parenting is, right? Huh. The things they don’t tell you in birthing class.
Anyway. Doodlebug has a marble jar and has for a while. We first tried a jar of popsicle sticks – one stick for each good choice and negative one stick for poor choices. When, after a week, she was indebted to the jar by -37 popsicles sticks, I started to wonder whether it was my child or the system that was really failing. Now, we do marbles, and she earns them for kindness, for chores, for helping, and doesn’t lose them for her poor choices – consequences doled out (or earned, really) for poor choices are hopefully more logical. And as a result, the jar really is a way to celebrate her growth. I have been hesitant to offer marbles for ordinary expectations. Do I really have to celebrate the grand achievement of wearing pants? Nobody throws me a confetti-powered parade when I don clothing below the waist, and believe me, some days it’s quite the accomplishment.
Turns, out, I do. Wearing pants is hard for her. We’ve ruled out legitimate sensory issues, and I really think it’s an exercise in control for her, which makes it even more annoying (truth bomb, folks)… but for whatever reason, it IS hard for her, so celebrating her ability to work through the hard is more than just legitimate. And it’s working. 5 marbles in the jar each morning that she puts on her outfit (chosen the night before), with no alterations and with no meltdowns.
Perhaps this new strategy will only last a few weeks (or days), but I’ll take it. And in any case, since beginning weekly therapy sessions, the entirety of our house feels just a little less volatile.
I feel like I should write something about the toddler – about how she’s finally growing a smidge taller and how she’s cutting several molars. About how each day, she bursts out a new word, almost as if it was hiding inside her all along, just waiting for the right moment to scream “two mommies!” or “elbow!” But I look through my photos and see nothing but her.
She’s cuter than her older sister. At least for now. Her toes are still kissable. At what age do the toes become unkissable, or is that just me? She stays still for photos, too, which I’m sure will pass in its own time.
I keep scrolling back up to see if this is publishable. If it’s cohesive. If it has worth.
I’m going to post it anyway. Just to get it out of my head.