Mama Lion and her Pride

I don’t think I truly knew what pride was until I had a baby.  And I don’t think I thoroughly felt pride until I had a toddler.  And I’m talking the kind of feeling that sits deep down in your belly; the feeling that wraps itself around your heart and turns your insides warm.  For me, it fills my entire being and renews my sense of purpose.  I could slay dragons with this power I feel inside myself today.  Today, we’re talking about pee.  Let me explain…

We’ve been living in Florida for almost 4 weeks now.  Yeah, the weather has been amazing and we’ve had fun going to the beach and getting to know our new town, but it’s also been trying.  We have a 3 year old.  Life is tough with a 3 year old.  It’s even tougher when you move cross country with said 3 year old.  The stress of the physical move was hard on all of us.  My obsession with setting up the house in 4 days annoyed everyone.  Two jobless parents spending 24/7 together has been a bit much.  And tearing Ella away from her friends and routine has been hard on her.  To say that she has been “challenging” would be an understatement.  Nearly every minute of every day for our first two weeks involved some kind of a fight.  If it wasn’t about the clothes she wore, it was about the lunch she ate.  The toys she played with weren’t good enough; her hair-bow was too tight; her crayons weren’t pink enough… She went from being our heavenly child to our demon child.  I know how that sounds!  But it was true! And any parent of a toddler would agree with me.  It can really suck sometimes!  It felt like a test, and both D and I were failing.  And we were fighting.  Not good. Not good at all.

So, we decided to enroll her in preschool.  Get her out of the house and let someone else deal with her!  Mostly kidding, but we knew we had to do something.  We really had to talk it out.  Spending money like that when we aren’t working just made us feel guilty.  Sending our child off to daycare while we  are unemployed made us feel guilty.  But we did the right thing.  We aren’t stay at home parents.  We just aren’t, and I feel no shame in saying that.  And we figured that her being in school would do wonders for her active body and even more active mind.  We found a great little school not too far from here and sent her off.  It was hard for us to send her into a new and unfamiliar place.  I mean, we know no one here, so we based it all off my intuition (and the price tag too).  For the first three days, she/I cried when we dropped her off.  It broke my heart.  But each day when we picked her up, the teachers told us how great she was adjusting, how social she is, and how polite and helpful she is.  Mommy’s heart soared.

On her second or third day, though, the teacher alerted me of a certain issue.  Pee.  Ella had 2 accidents that day.  In Colorado, she had individual attention.  Her daycare providers were in-home and knew the kids almost as well as their own children.  Here, she is in a larger place where the teachers may not be constantly asking her if she has to use the potty.  And Ella also has a tendency to get carried away in playing and she pees a little in her pants before she remembers that she has to go.  Now, I could have been that parent who tells the teachers to provide more attention to her.  I could have gotten in their faces and asked them to try to remember that her toilet training is still new and that she needs reminders to pee.  However, I decided to go another route and push it back on Ella a little.  I know– so controversial.  {sense my sarcasm?} I told Ella that when she feels the need to pee, she needs to tell the teachers that she has to go.  I also told her that when she needs to go, to just go and to remember to wipe really really well.  Well, the next day she came home with dry panties.  The same ones that I put her in that morning.  It seems so trivial, but what a sense of pride for this mama lion.  Teaching your child to advocate for herself is quite amazing.    But there’s more…

We ran out of pull-ups.  Ella sleeps in them at naptime and bedtime only.  They’re a crutch, but who wants to clean up pee?  Not us.  Well, she had such success at school and I didn’t want to go to the store to get more.  They’re expensive!  We tried a little experiment.  No pull-up at naptime.  She’s such an independent child that she was all for it.  Woke up dry as a bone!  Then we tried night time.  I was scared.  But I sat Ella down and told her that if she wakes up and needs to go, to just go.  The nightlight is on, she can reach the potty with her stool, and there are special wipes just for her.  D and I were watching a movie that night.  Sure enough, she walked out of her room, peed, flushed, and went back to bed!  Not a word to us!  D and I just looked at each other and smiled.  Pride.  My heart filled up so much that my eyes welled with tears.  Last night was her second night without a pull-up and she woke up dry.  We all cheered for her success and then sent her off to school.  Our baby is not such a baby anymore.

Pee.  We do it every day.  Seems so mundane and so insignificant.  But it’s a milestone event for a parent and a child.  I never really got that.  I never understood what it was really about.  One of the true joys in life is to watch your child succeed.  We helped to cultivate her confidence.  And she’s thriving.  She’s happy.  Knowing that I helped to create a happy and wonderful little being fills me up with pride.  I don’t have a job and complain that I don’t contribute to society in any way, but I’m wrong.  I have contributed.  I am blessing this Earth with an amazing human being.  That’s pretty great.  {So, can I find a way to pay my bills on pride?!}

Have a great week–I have an interview to get dressed for (for real).

xoxox ~M

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3 responses to “Mama Lion and her Pride

  1. I love your writing. VERY honest post. Being a parent is not all happy and joyful But I tell ya….it is those little heart swells you get that make you forget all of the drama and crap. I am so glad my kids are all grown, because quite frankly, I never want to go through that again. But, I am really enjoying watching you and your husband raise Ella. The love you feel for your child and the pride you feel……there really is nothing else like it. Thanks so much for sharing your journey with all of us.

    • Thanks for reading, Michele! And thank you for your honest comment! I think when all is said and done, I will be glad when she’s grown too. I mean, I will enjoy all of this along the way, but parenting in the early years is HARD. Granted, I have nothing to compare it to and may have no idea what I’m saying 🙂
      Thanks for sharing our journey with us.

  2. When we parents sense pride in our child, we know we have done well in our “job” as parents. Your child is a product of yourselves. When parents feel pride in themselves for their own successes, they pass on their confidence to their children. The child learns to succeed from that.
    Then comes the pride. Both in the parent for seeing their child succeed and in the child as well, who also recognizes his or her success. And it goes on with each small or large victory. A parent’s pride, a mother’s
    pride, never ends no matter the age of her child. You will know this as
    Ella grows older. I continue to have pride in you, my beautiful shining sea star, Marisa, no matter your age. Because you are my child.

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