We've just had the the best day in ages, me an' Impfey (Grace). I can't believe how much I got done, how little Grace cried & how much fun it all was. Yay! At last.
The day started pretty much as usual with me hiding under the doona while G got ready for work. Happy sounds alternating with mournful cries indicated that Grace was ready to be released from her cot. Got up just in time to take Grace to wave bye bye to Daddy as he got on the tram. I'm trying to make a ritual of daddy coming & going so she learns that people go away & come back.
Anyway after Grace's breakfast, I got a load of washing on - have to take advantage of the nicer weather we've been having, then I started making my breakfast. This is where the trouble usually starts. So today I gave Grace a second breakfast (she was about to graduate to 2 weetbix & bannana anyway). I gave her some fruit & a couple of spoons of my yoghurt, apple & oats with the nuts picked out. But I didn't help her eat it, just gave her a spoon, in case she wants to move up from hands. It was fabulous, it took her ages to eat & we had conversation, funny smiles, a little food throwing (at the cat) but no tantrums and no tears.
After breakfast, I hung the washing out, rushed around doing cardio cleaning - bathroom, washed floors, dishes etc. Grace happily played with the newspapers in the recycling, emptied out the plastics cupboard & generally got involved with the housework until she went down for a nap about ten. At eleven I was finished cleaning for the day, had packed her stuff for creche & was ready to go to the gym.
Grace awoke with a smile & was beaming as we walked out the door. When we got to the gym, her cries were soothed by the presence of her new friend.. the blankie. She didn't cry when I left her at creche, didn't cry when I came to get her & apparently hardly cried at all in the middle. The day was getting better & better. Oh, and at the gym when I weighed myself I had lost a whole kilo!
In the afternoon we got out in the garden. It was a little smoggy, but fine & warm enough for sandals. I weeded & mulched the bed around the lemon tree as Grace bumshuffled around getting dirty & having an awesome time. Her whole being seemed to vibrate with excitement while exploring the garden.
I gardened a bit more while Grace napped & then just as the weather was cooling down, Dad came round to help with the scanner software. We all hung out in the study & although Grace was still a bit shy around Dad, she warmed up gradually. As the grizzles approached, blankie came out to help. Later G & I had homemade pizza for dinner. Yum.
These sorts of days have been pretty rare lately & I have been doubting myself as a mother. There's been lots of talk about Grace & creche & about her fear of separation. It has also been said, more than once, "she has to learn that the world doesn't always revolve around her". When G & I talked about this, he said that being told this was a really unhappy memeory from his childhood, that it used to make him feel worthless. Later I thought about this and realised it is an absurd thing to say to a small child, because of course their world revolves around them. Does it change much when we grow up? I don't think so.
I'm trying to think of kinder ways to express to Grace that she doesn't always get what she wants. Like, its mummy's turn to have breakfast, shower etc. And questioning some of my own behaviour. As a new mum at 41, I'm pretty set in some of my ways & maybe life will be happier for all of us if I can bend a bit. For example, my issues with Grace in the morning had a lot to do with me wanting to have a quiet breakfast & read my book while she played at my feet. I've been reading over breakfast for 20 years or so, not being the happiest butterfly in the morning. But Grace wants interaction. She's learning that meals are not only for eating but can be social too, and demands to be part of the action. I can either try and read with a screaming child at my feet & have a shit day or read some other time & have a pleasant breakfast followed by a pleasant day with my daughter.
As for the separation anxiety at creche, I noticed that she was reaching into her cot for one of her blankets after one of yesterdays' meltdowns. We now have something from home, from her space, that we can take into the world where things can get a bit scary for Grace. She can touch the rough wool & the satin trim, wrap herself in it if she gets cold. Hopefully it helps her to remember her little room & her home.
So our world is feeling OK again, until the next drama. I'm learning that we tend to cruise along with a mixture of good & not so good days. That's fine. Then something comes along that throws us into a spin & we have many more bad days than good until we learn what works in the new situation. Then it's OK again.