Saturday, June 23, 2012

the learning curve

Several months ago the General Relief Society president, Sister Beck, came and spoke to the women in my ward (her daughter lives on my street. Quite the hookup ;)  It was at a time when I was having a really hard time getting used to my role as mom.  Olivia was still pretty tiny and I always felt overwhelmed.  Someone asked Sister Beck what she could tell us about being a mother.  She said having a child puts you on the fast track of learning.

Understatement of the year.

I feel like I have learned more in the last year than I have in all of my previous years and every day I feel like I make mistakes that I must learn from.  Olivia fell on her head 3 times this week: once off the side of our low armchair as I was getting up to put a pillow right there, once down our bottom two stairs, once when I tried to pick her up during a tantrum.  I'm hoping babies are pretty durable, otherwise mine may have some knocked some things loose recently.

Last week we had to take Olivia to the ER for an x-ray because Jack though she had swallowed something and that it  was stuck in her throat.  It turned out there was nothing there, but the doctor told us that metal things, when stuck in a throat or esophagus, can eat through the baby's tissue, causing damage.

The other day we had had a loooong, hot day of work and errands and such.  I put Livs in her high chair for dinner and she was not having it.  She cried and threw everything I tried to give her on the floor.  She wouldn't watch her favorite show, she wouldn't play with her toys, she just wanted to cry and scream.  I was so frustrated and angry that I wanted to get in the car and drive away (Jack was out mowing the lawn, oblivious to the ruckus inside).  I sat Olivia down (none too gently), screaming on the living room floor, put in my earphones and turned my music up on my ipod so I didn't have to hear her while I did the dishes.

And then something made me stop.  I turned and looked at her.  She was getting so worked up that her face was bright red.  Tears were dripping off her chin and she was staring at me through slitted eyes while she cried.  I turned off my music and picked her up, felt her gums to see they were a little swollen and rubbed some baby orajel on them.  I turned her favorite show back on the TV and sat down to hold her.  Olivia laid down on my shoulder, her cries subsided to sniffles and she wrapped her little arms around my body.  I get emotional remembering how mad I was at her and how I almost just ignored her while she sat on the floor and cried.

I hate when I do things wrong.  I hate ever hurting her or making her sad.  But the truth is, sometimes that is how we learn.  I will make sure to always put pillows down when she wants to crawl and play on things, I will put the baby gate lower on the stairs, I will pick up pennies and small objects before she does, and I will understand when she has had just as long of a day as I have and respond with affection instead of anger.

I will treat my faults as a way of learning instead of small failures as a mother and use them to become better.
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