Monday, June 24, 2013

Why Mom Doesn't Freak Out These Days

"Oh, okay. For the third time this week, you're not going to stay buckled in your carseat as I'm barreling down the interstate at 70 mph?"

After five kids, I've logged countless hours waiting on the side of the road for someone to get buckled. Bring it.

Resourceful child.
But there was a time when I would have been in tears over this. In knots over whether or not I was handling the situation the right way. The subject would have animated multiple discussions with the rest of the 10 A.M. new-mommy stroller brigade as we dominated the sidewalks of Seattle's north-end.

The experience of raising five children, though, has smoothed out much of the rough surface of my parental anxiety, polishing it instead with at least a bit more wisdom about how much to worry or whether or not to worry at all.

Take, for example my nearly three-year-old daughter who has been talking intelligibly for over a year now, but suddenly slips into gibberish over lunch. Six years ago I was fretting over Sophia doing the same thing. It's like some sort of made-up language they expect the real world to find absolutely charming. Just talk normal, already! Which at ten-years-old, Sophia does now quite successfully, using her impressive rhetorical tactics to draw out a late night shoulder rub from even the most exhausted parent.

At ten-years-old, Sophia can't get enough real words- or Nutella.

So now when three feet of babbling beauty beseeches me from across the table, I exaggerate my amusement with a giggle and then non-chalantly take another bite of my grilled cheese sandwich. Lyla can be so silly.

Or how 'bout the fact that on Sunday morning I adorn Lyla in the sweetest pink floral dress, brush her tangled hair, and pull it back into two perfect pig tails on either side of her head. An hour later she smiles back from the end of the church pew, wearing an additional sweatshirt and an orange and blue chevron headband over her one remaining pig tail. Yep. Sophia did this, too. And she now has her own sense of style and wears it well. It eventually all came together for her and I no longer worry how she walks out the door.

So with my fourth child, Halle? I don't even blink an eye when I drop her off at kindergarten wearing pink and orange plaid shorts, a long-sleeved purple shirt, and yellow boots. 

"And that green ribbon you saved from last year's Christmas package that's tied hippie-style around your head? You're rockin' that, too, Baby Girl!"

Then there's Beau, my first-born. Back then I was worried that the thirty minutes of red-faced hunger-screaming from his infant carseat- when my husband just wanted to get there- would damage him for life. And I don't know, maybe it did. But he seems to be getting along okay these days.

Beau getting a laugh out of his brother.

And I guess that's the point.

Five children later and an increased scope for what's going to matter down the road, allows me to face parenting with a little less anxiety and a bit more acceptance. Stuff passes, most of the time leaving us unscathed, whether I freak out over it or not. So while my children still aren't allowed to run with sticks (more on that experience later), I relax about a whole lot more these days.

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