Wednesday, May 29, 2013

When my baby hurts, I hurt.

All you other mamas out there, can you agree with me when I say it is SO easy to get frustrated with a three-year-old?  Like, really easy.

My little girl is so independent and strong-willed and loud.  She has an opinion about everything.  She wants to see everything.  She wants to try everything.  She wants to do it now and she wants to do it herself

So.  With my child being this independent, I am learning that I am a bit of a control freak.  I want to do things now and I want to do it my way and I can do it so much faster and I have absolutely no patience.  {I can't imagine where Ayla gets it...}

In our house this equals a lot of yelling.  Not angry mean yelling, just your average Keene Family hollering.  It goes something like:

Ayla:  I want to do it all myself!

Me:  Let me help you.


Me:  That's not how you do it-just let me-oh my gosh, LET ME DO IT.


Me: Oh.  My.  Gosh.  Fine.  Do it yourself.

Ayla:  Hey mom, can you help me?

Me:  Ugh.  Seriously?

This sort of thing happens daily.  Just ask poor Kyle.  Ayla and I hollering and throwing tantrums all over the place.  I get so frustrated with her and it's so easy for me to instantly get impatient and angry and raise my voice.

You know what makes me feel terrible about this?  Not when Ayla yells back or screams back.  Not when things are awesome and I think back on our yelling.  Not when I catch someone unrelated to me looking at me like I'm a psycho for arguing with my child like I should be arguing with a sister.

No.  What makes me feel terrible is when my baby gets hurt.  When my little girl is in pain, I am in pain.  Literal physical pain.  My heart hurts, my head hurts, my throat hurts from holding back the lump because I want to cry.  I would give anything, absolutely anything, to take away the pain that my baby is feeling.

On Memorial Day my little girl got hurt.  We were having so much fun roasting mallows around the fire pit.  Ayla came walking over and tripped over her cousins foot and feel face-first onto the edge of the fire pit.  The concrete edge.  I saw it happen in what felt like slow motion.  Her face hit and I thought for sure that we would be heading to the hospital.  Kyle flew to her in record speed while I sat there feeling paralyzed and terrified.  I saw his hand and her hands fill up with blood, I saw blood running down her shirt and I thought the worst.  I thought her teeth were going to be gone, her nose would be broken, her face would be split open... I didn't even want to see it.  Blood doesn't bother me at all.  I could see pictures and videos of horrible wounds all day.  But when it is my child, I go weak in the knees.  My chest gets tight and I can't breathe.  I feel light-headed.  I am basically useless when my baby needs me the most.

I grabbed paper towels and started mopping up the blood.  My baby was screaming.  She had massive tears streaming down her cheeks.  She was shaking.  It was horrible.  She let us look at her enough to see that her two front teeth had gone through her upper lip.  Right through them.  She kept spreading her lip out and she'd start screaming all over again.  She would touch it and start screaming all over again.  We had her holding ice to it.  She was SO sad.

Kyle and I packed her up and put her in the car.  She sad quietly in the back seat holding her ice to her lip.  I said, "Baby, do you want to go home or do you want to stop at Macey's?"  {I was burned terribly and had planned on picking up some tea to give myself a tea bath}  She whimpered, "Macey's."  I knew she would.  Even in tears and in pain my girl wants to go to the store.  Always.

She rode around in one of their little cars attached to the carts.  She was so cute with her insanely swollen lip.  Talking to Kyle and I, being playful and sweet.  I love that she can still make us laugh when she is feeling so awful.

We took Ayla home and got her some ibuprofen and a new ice pack.  We dressed her in her sweet fleecy footy jammies and tucked her in our bed between us.  We watched Evan Almighty, which she loved.  She was calling Steve Carell "Michael Scott" through the whole movie, which made Kyle the proudest daddy ever.

Kyle and I kept looking at each other and saying, "She is so cute.  We have the sweetest baby.  I love her."

I looked at my tiny, tiny girl with her massive upper lip and her puffy red eyes and my heart hurt so bad.  I hated that she was hurting.  I hated that I couldn't take that pain away.  I hated that it had to happen.  I hated that her little voice sounded SO sad even though she had a {swollen} smile on her face.

It's these moments when I feel terrible for ever raising my voice at her.  For ever arguing with her or making her angry or sad or discouraged.  I only ever want my little girl to be healthy and happy and confident.  I love that she's strong-willed.  I love that she's independent.  I love that she is all of the things that make me SO frustrated because I know that she is going to grow up to be an amazing girl.  She's going to do amazing things.

In a way, it's times like that, the times when she is hurting and I am hurting, that I am thankful for.  They make me step back and see my little girl a little differently than I do on a daily basis.  Obviously, she is always awesome.  I know that.  But I am thankful for the opportunity to remember how sweet and delicate she is and to remind myself to think twice before raising my voice at a tiny girl who is trying so hard figure things out all by herself.  Luckily, she usually realizes that she still needs her mommy.

Ayla and I shared some herbal sleepy time vanilla tea.  It makes sad girls feel better.

1 comment:

  1. You are such a great mommy Tonja. It makes me feel bad to think about all of the times that I yelled at you. I wonder if you wish that I would have been more patient or if the way the I mothered was just what you knew, and that was that.
    Sometimes, I wish that I would have been a teacher before I was a mother. I think that I can be much more patient with children, after having worked with them for about 20 years now. Specifically, being a classroom teacher for the past 13 years. Things break and spill in the classroom, and I am so calm that it's ridiculous. I don't always feel calm inside, but I usually say, "Get a paper towel and clean that up. Or, "Pick up the pieces and throw them away." 99% of the time, it's an accident and the student already feels bad. A kid fell and split his lip and bloodied his nose in my class a few years ago... And I remained totally calm.
    I think that you get the panic genes from you dad. Evidence of this is when you were born and he went in to shock, yelling and screaming at me. I was the one calming him down and telling him what to do. Somehow, in emergencies I have this feeling of "How bad can it possibly be?" I think if I weren't a teacher, I might be suited for an EMT.

    As far as the strong wills between you and Ayla, I'll bet that you could do a little field practice. If you challenge yourself to resist the battling of wills for one week, you might notice a change. So, when Ayla is insistent on trying something her way, allow her to try on her own first. As long as there isn't a danger to herself or another person, let her try. Take a deep breath, count to ten, or whatever it is that you think might help you not instantly react. Then, let Ayla know that if she wants your help, you're right there. Chances are that she'll ask for your help. And, in the process you won't feel so frustrated, and she'll feel a sense of independence and pride for being able to do something all by herself. You might even start a little tally sheet for yourself, and reward yourself when you get to 10 tally marks. Practice turns into habits. Give it a try. I'll bet that you'll be really proud of yourself, and Ayla. Love you!