One afternoon last week, I was changing Rylie's diaper when she suddenly turned over with all of her strength and stood on her head in wild and loud protestation. She had never done this before nor had she given me any indication that she was upset. She had made herself stiff as board and it was an effort to pry her grip from the railing of her changing table. I took her to the bed, which she sometimes prefers, and she was still very upset and defintely showing me her strong will. It was difficult, but I eventually got her clean enough to pick up and hold next to me and she started to mellow. It was emotional - for both of us.
Later that day, still rattled from my girl's meltdown and contemplating what seemed to be the beginning of new behaviors and strong emotions, I emailed a mama friend about our experience. To be honest, I was a bit hesitant to share my struggles, but I also felt desperate for reassurance. She wrote me back with a very similar story that had happened to her that very same day and confessed that, though she was sorry I had a bad day, she was glad to hear that she was not the only one. Everything that she had expressed in her email matched my thoughts and sentiments exactly. There I was, realizing once again that us mothers need to stick together. There are common threads, good and bad, and by sharing the less than glorious moments; we find comfort, camaraderie, consolation.
It is a concious effort for me to really and truly open myself up. It is something I remind myself of hourly. However, when I do, rather it be about motherhood or anything else, I connect with people honestly, wholly and on deeper levels. I also find that it inspires others to do the same. It is a game of who will go first. Who will open the door and tell the truth - who will communicate authentically?
That day turned around for us. Rylie napped, we played, we fingerpainted, and later that night in the kitchen, we all three put togeter a pie in "her" kitchen and ate it too. She dug her little hands right in and brought them to her mouth, making chomping noises. She loved all the noise her whisk made as she banged it around in the tin pie plate. The next morning she awoke very upset and for the first time since she was an infant, was difficult to console. The only thing that calmed her was bringing her to the window to look outside. So we put on our coats over our jammies, traded our slippers for sneakers, and brought her bike to the sidewalk for an early morning ride. It calmed her completely and she made passersby on the street smile while shouting hi and ba bye and doggie.
It has been up and down around here. We seem to have turned a corner and Rylie's moods are getting stronger and much more pronounced. Now, more than ever, I am striving to be present, focused and intentional about meeting these challenges moment by moment. I am reminded daily of the importance of creativity in parenting and skillfully meeting everyone's needs - including my own. And, perhaps most of all, I must remember the tremendous support and comfort that can come from reaching out to other mamas.