Magpie Mama: Toddlerhood

I don’t often write about parenting here at Magpie Girl. When I started blogging, Mama Bloggers were all the rage.  And although at the time my children were little, I didn’t want to be stuck in the mama blogger niche. Maybe part of me knew that one day they wouldn’t want to be blogged about anymore. That one day, sooner than I expected, my nine-year old would turn to me and say, “Don’t put that on your blog mom!” Some part of me knew, even then, if I only blogged about mamahood the end would be nigh.

My children are 12 and 14 now, and I have to get permission before I can even post their picture on Facebook. Blogging about them? Fuhgeddaboutit. And yet lately, mamahood has been on my mind.

Take toddlers, for instance. Whenever I see someone with a toddler — at a grocery store, or here at my second office in the library, my heart goes out to them. I want to touch them on the arm and say, “It’s okay. It’s going to be oh. kay.” For instance, yesterday I at Target, I ran into this little interchange…

“No Jake, it goes in the other basket. In our basket,” she said, rescuing the holiday-train window clings from my shopping cart.  ”You almost took home something unexpected there,” she said with to me with a tired smile.

“He has a sweet voice,” I commented. “I miss that age. It’s my favorite.”

“He screamed for two years,” she volunteered. “Two. Years. Now that he’s like this,” she waved her arms at him charming another shopper, “I worry that I missed his babyhood wishing for it to pass.” She paused. “But then again, he did scream for two years.”

“I had one of those.” I confessed. “I know.”

My kids are 12 and 14 now. And I feel because I did not, ever, make good on my threat to give them to the gypsies, I am now entitled to offer mama advice to, say, random strangers in the holiday aisle at Target. So unsolicited, I told her a story.

I told her about how my first-born was hard. Harder than I’d ever imagined. Hard to grow. Hard to birth. Hard to take care of. And I worried, that whole time, that in my longing to have all that difficulty pass, I may have missed out on those first fleeting years of babyhood.

I worried afterwards too. I worried when she was 5, and when she was 6, and when she was 7. I felt sure I had missed something important. And I knew there was no going back to find it again.

But, I told this random lady, my daughters are 12 and 14. Smart. Responsible. Funny. In short, the best companions a mama could hope for. And now that I’m out of the early childhood brain-fog, I’m realizing how much I do remember.

How many good memories I have of when they were little.
How many charming antedotes I hold in my heart.
How many stories I can tell.

And it’s dawned on me, very recently, that I actually was present to their babyhood, to their toddlering. The ebb and the flow of it. The hot and the cold of it. I didn’t miss it. I was there. 

“Thank you,” she said. “Thank you for telling me that.”

If you are parenting a young one today — one who screams, or won’t sleep, or who is in that stage where they will never EVER put on shoes — please knowhis;

You are okay.
Your kiddo is okay.
(promise.)

When the dust settles, you’ll remember the good in technicolor.
And by the time your kids are in high school, the bad will fade juuust enough to let you be compassionate to random strangers at Target.

Be kind to your baby soul, mama. You’re doing just fine.

Click to tweet the good word.

Much Warmth,

Rachelle
*your magpie girl

 Need more advice on soulful parenting? You Might Also Like:

Rites of Passage for Back to School (pin it for next fall!)
Advice for Birthday Transitions 
Why I’m Not Teaching “Abstinence Only” 

 

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily H November 28, 2012 at 8:06 am

Thank you. As a mom, solo, to two little ones (2 and 4), this was something I needed to hear.
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Rachelle November 28, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I’m glad is was good companionship for you, Emily, on your parenting way.

I just read your Simpler post. What good ideas! I’m especially proud of you for skipping the Christmas tree. It’s a smart choice, if a hard one. But I’m sure your home will be festive and cozy with your other decorations — and you’ll be able to enjoy it more because it will be a right-fit decision for you and yours!

May your days be merry and bright.

R

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Bethany Bassett November 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm

This is so. damn. encouraging. With all the upheaval surrounding our move to Italy/baby-birthing/postpartum depression five years ago, I sometimes agonize over the months (and okay, if I’m going to be honest, years) I didn’t appreciate enough. But like you pointed out about your own lovely girls, mine are also smart, responsible, funny, and the best possible company, and it’s so good to hear from a fellow mama-warrior that we’re all doing just fine.
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Rachelle November 28, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Oh, Bethany, why do we live so far apart?

(I like you.)

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darrah parker November 28, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Thanks for this, mama! I often wonder if I’m savoring this time enough, but that just brings up unnecessary guilt. Yuck! It’s good to know that you still remember the good stuff. xo

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Audrey December 1, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I have a 2 year old and a 6 month old and this week has been hard. I have been longing for time quiet time away and just haven’t been able to do it in over a month. I am at my wits end, in tears at one point. I just really needed to hear this this week!
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Melanie September 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this on FB today! I have that “missing out” feeling often. My son is three and he’s in preschool full-time. He started daycare when he was 2 months old. My husband and I both have to work, so there are times when I feel like I’m missing too much of his childhood.
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Melanie September 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this on FB today! I have that “missing out” feeling often. My son is three and he’s in preschool full-time. He started daycare when he was 2 months old. My husband and I both work, so there are times when I feel like I’m missing too much of his childhood.
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