Is this the beginning of a new era at our house?
- Yesterday, I took our regular kitchen trash can and moved it into the kitchen. And put it on the floor. For the last year or longer, we have used a tiny little trash can on the kitchen counter, due to Mark (age 22 months) constantly getting into the trash. Having the trash can on the counter was somewhat convenient, but also made me sad because we have such little counter space to begin with. So, the trash situation has returned to normal – for now, possibly for good – in our kitchen. What a relief.
- I am currently sitting in a comfy chair and am surrounded by my laptop, my coffee, my phone, a pen, my GTD Coordinator, my Bible, and a few other things. Mark is playing at the coffee table just a few feet away, but (here is the important part) he is not attacking me, my laptop, or any of my belongings. When he starts to get a little unruly, I remind him about time-out (in the Pack & Play). Since he is well rested and not hungry or ill, he seems capable of reigning in his desire to “get into everything.”
This is a giant step forward from the chaos we have been living in for the past year. Not being able to sit down and think, plan, read, pray, or type (without fending off a very determined toddler) has really done a number on me, and it feels terrific to be able to do these things again at a time other than naptime or bedtime.
From Rosemond I learned that around the time a toddler turns 18 months old, it is the parents’ job to gradually, lovingly, and firmly build boundaries around themselves so the child learns that s/he does not have complete access to the parents any time s/he feels like it. This makes a lot of sense to me, and it seems clear that a toddler who starts to learn these boundaries has the opportunity to grow into a child who is pleasant to live with, can handle a classroom environment, can be a joy to have as a guest, and so on.
It is a great relief to me that I can finally draw some boundaries around myself. As a mother, I live with so many interruptions and intrusions – on my body, time, and attention. (Yesterday morning, for example, Mark needed to go “number 2” at least six times, all before lunch! Since he’s young, it requires a lot of time and physical labor to get through the whole potty process.)
It’s no wonder that I often feel burnt out and that I’ve lost my sense of self. It’s not uncommon for me to struggle to finish anything without interruptions or downright intrustions, whether it’s making a simple grocery list or wolfing down a microwavable meal.
This morning, I am thankful to God for these bright spots of hope, and I am thankful that He has brought me through a challenging season of parenting.