Every year around this time, I think I didn’t accomplish anything through the year, that the time just kind of rolled on day to day. This year is no different.
But if I do stop to think about it, I’ve taken on new challenges. Some of them are relatively minor – I’m trying out the intermediate level for my dance class, instead of the beginner level. I tried aerial yoga. I started making jewelry and teaching myself new techniques.
Some of them are a bit bigger – I went back to work after my second maternity leave, and once again handed over a child of mine to someone else to look after for the majority of each week day. I’m being facetious here, it definitely isn’t as ‘easy’ as I make it sound (though because it’s the same person who looked after our daughter, it’s a bit easier in some ways – not to mention he’s a pretty chill baby who adjusted to daycare a lot more quickly than she did). I saw my daughter start the next phase of her life with going to school for full days, and have been dealing with the changes in her resulting from that.
And always, always, I have new worries and fears and concerns. Worries about my daughter’s interactions with her school mates, and pride in her being invited to birthday parties with said school mates. Pride at seeing how many of her friends greet her or say goodbye to her. Pride in hearing that she stood up for herself at a birthday party against a kid who was trying to push his way through and rush her off her turn on a play area.
The old stereotype of parents always wanting better for their kids holds true – I have my own baggage from being the kid I was, and I want her to be better than I was, and to be more, and she is. She has a strength in her right now that I would do well to emulate (to a point, I don’t think I can get away with physically expressing my emotions the way she sometimes does). She stands up for herself when it matters, and she wants to see others involved and having fun.
I had her in a preschool playgroup over the winter and summer, and in her last session the leaders paired her up with a boy who had joined who was having trouble adjusting – and she would just drag him along in her wake. I had no idea about this until the final few weeks, when his parents told me what was going on – and told me how much of a change in had made in him.
Her days at school are a mystery to me in that I’m not there for them and only know what’s going on from her version of events or what the after-school care teachers tell me. She’s adjusted well, she gets on well with the other kids, the conflicts she has aren’t big enough for them to be a problem it seems… For a four year old, I can’t ask for much more.
And my son, well, he’s doing what babies do. He’s growing, he’s learning, he’s experimenting, he’s challenging, he’s pushing, he’s charming. He shows clear preference for things, he’s happy to see us and he gets upset if I walk away from him when he’s chasing me or wants me around. I regularly refer to him as an asshole in my stories, not because I hate him of course, but because he’s just… well, sometimes he’s being an asshole. Sometimes, he does something that he seems to understand he’s not supposed to, and yet he goes and does it anyhow – while either making sure you’re watching him, or waiting to have you look at him, or just with a big, shit-eating grin on his face.
When he was first learning how to crawl, he army-crawled, and he was noisy about it. If you put him down on one side of the room, he’d make his way over to the cat’s food dishes – and he’d pause while on en route to look at you and make sure you saw him. Then he’d laugh and go right back for them, completely ignoring us telling him no. If you moved him back to the other side of the room or tried to distract him with toys, he’d go right back for the dishes – and he’d throw his toy so that he was ‘chasing’ it and had an excuse to go that direction.
He’s older now and is moving to walking as his main form of ambulation, but he’s still a little shit. But he’s cute, and he’s funny, and for the most part it’s pretty easy to deal with. I’m sure I’ll eat those words in another few months, but for now we’re managing. I always tell people that it’s not often someone hands you a toddler and tells you to figure it out, that you grow with them, and that’s what we’re doing now.
Otherwise… I don’t make resolutions as a general rule, but I’m trying to balance my free time better. I want to try to sell things, I want to try to write more, and I want to try to be more patient. I’m frequently writing things in my head and never actually getting around to putting them on paper (or screen), and I’m hoping to change that. Of course, I say that every time I post, but y’know, new year and all that.
So the more things change, the more they stay the same. Of course, the kids will drag me kicking and screaming along in their wake, so at least I’m forced to make some changes as it goes. Which is a good thing, believe me.