Easy to be hard.
I'm not proud of it. And each night when I go to bed, I plan to do things better tomorrow. Tomorrow, I will be more patient and kind. Especially with Lily. She's been hard for me lately and it's not fair.
I forgot the concessions we made in raising a two year old Lily. We didn't mention certain things, especially before bedtime or nap time, we didn't eat certain things before a certain time, because she'd want something we didn't want her to have or not eat her dinner based on a mere suggestion we made. We didn't stop to pee, or if we did we snuck to the potty so she wouldn't want to try to go at a disgusting bathroom at a gas station somewhere. We were careful, and it was easy to create a world that made parenting a two year old, just a little easier. Her mind was so full - the power of suggestion was everywhere and we became pros at doing the dance of avoidance in order to keep ourselves sane.
That's all out the window - and we are parenting a 2 year old once again. One who is open to the power of suggestion, and one who LOVES to please her sister and make her "Yi-Yi" laugh. And I'm hard on Lily for suggesting things that cause Addie to misbehave. Why do I get irritated at Lily for telling Addie NOT to lick the seats at Newark Airport when she already IS NOT doing that because via power of suggestion means that within moments Addie is licking said seats, while Lily laughs hysterically. Hey Lily - don't thank mommy 75 times and talk about how yummy the brownie that I just snuck you was, when Addie is allergic and can't have it. Only to have Addie cry and scream and meltdown because SHE want's a snack/dessert/plastic bag NOW!
Over and over and over, I talk more sternly to Lily than I should and correct her more often than I should. And over and over and over for every thing she does to infuriate me she amazes me, with kindness and helpfulness and love for her little sister. And love for me. How could she still love me I sometimes wonder? And then at night I look at her sleeping and I think "Tomorrow, I will do a better job, I will remember to make a choice to talk more sweetly to my sweet one". And then when she come traipsing into my room at 6-something am waking me from a dead sleep and encouraging her sister to stick her hand into her poopy diaper - by laughing her head off and yelling through the house, "Addie whatever you do, do NOT put your hand into your poopy diaper, oh oh oh and whatever you do, don't wipe it on your face", I forget my promise made 7 hrs ago to myself because in a sleepy haze I'm catching Addie from wiping a poopy face on my white comforter just in the nick of time. Did I mention I'm not really a morning person?
And I have excuse after excuse after excuse and example after example after example...of why in the moment I lost my cool. And why I yelled at Lily for Addie's misbehavior because I could, because she knew better, because she was there.
I'm not proud of this, and I put it out there because I also know I'm not alone. In the happiness of our family, and there really is an overload of it, there is a struggling relationship between Lily and I sometimes. I don't think she even knows it. But I know it and I'm often disappointed in myself for having expectations for her that are too high, leaving me disappointed in the moment. She is so creative and smart and capable, I forget that this is a four year old little girl doing her best. I hope that by saying it out loud here, I can publicly commit to trying a little harder today and listening a little better and following through a little quicker. Because that's all I can do. I think I can raise the expectations I have of myself and lower the ones of her. I can accept that fact that she is not the problem, I am, my shortage of time or lack of planning ahead...those are the things I am irritated with, not my darling Lily who deserves to be treated with kindness and not harsh words of criticism.
Today was her first day of school. Lawrence dressed her, even though I had a cute little dress laid out. She still looked beautiful in another new outfit. Happy Birthday to my sister in law, Laureen, & to Lily's best friend Rachel!
And three cheers to all the mamas out there who are holding it together by a thread, doing the very best they can, and who vow to do better tomorrow, every tomorrow, here's to hoping that we WILL do better tomorrow and that we will get lots and lots of tomorrows with our little ones, and be thankful for their forgiveness when we need to exchange today for a better tomorrow. And here's to hoping none of us wake up tomorrow with poopy face prints on our white comforters...