Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Dreaming of a calm Christmas (Part III)
I thought I had finished my "calm Christmas" posts. And then I recalled something that happened this time last year, something that threw me off kilter in a major way.
I like to think of this as the wild/child factor.
My little 'un has been, by and large, an easy kid. She was a good daytime napper and a great night time sleeper. She didn't have any major challenges as far as breast feeding went and was a pretty good eater, especially when it came to fruit and veges. We were so lucky to avoid any major illnesses or mishaps, other than the usual set of colds and tumbles.
My daughter has also been a confident, secure, happy kid as far as any of us can remember. She started attending creative play sessions when she was two and took to them like a duck to water. She also took three year old kindergarten in her stride. She loved spending time with her grandmothers while I worked two days a week and looked forward to sleepovers at my parents' house. She was the kid who marched into any room then looked back and waved "Bye, Mum!" and started playing.
Then, this time last year -- and for no apparent reason -- everything changed. She started to have meltdowns whenever I left her anywhere. She became extremely fussy about her clothes, particularly her socks (!). She flat out refused to cooperate when it came to getting dressed, with the result that we missed a few appointments and playdates.
On one boiling hot day, I had to forgo attending a dear friend's father's funeral as my babysitting option fell through and I just couldn't trust that my littlie would behave with someone else (let alone at a church two hours' drive away). After one too many boundaries crossed, I refused to take her to see Father Christmas when he visited her kindergarten for an end-of-year party.
Most days, it felt like I was oscillating between insanity and despair. Nothing I did seemed to ameliorate the situation. Mostly, I just felt like I was doing everything wrong.
Thankfully, the Christmas break and lots of [mostly] relaxing family time seemed to break the cycle. My husband was particularly fantastic, staying home late and coming home early to help us navigate the storms and negotiate the stalemates.
Looking back, I am inclined to put the whole thing down to a developmental phase combined with fatigue. Part of me is given to wonder whether my daughter was picking up on my distractedness -- I was so focused on getting Reverb12 off the ground -- but I also suspect that's a good way of giving myself a hard time for choosing to spend time doing something I love.
Thankfully, there are no signs of the maelstrom this year. However, my daughter and most of her friends do seem (like me, and most of the people I know) very tired. There are many viruses going around, some of them quite serious and scary. It's starting to feel like a crawl to the finish line. And then there's the whole festive season!
My little girl is on the cusp of some major transitions in her life. She will be starting school in late January. She will also have a new sibling in early March. So far, she seems to have taken everything in her stride, happily marching in to her school orientations, enthusiastically talking about (and to) her little brother.
But she's also been sucking her thumb a lot more than usual. And climbing on me and wanting cuddles all the time. There's also a lot of baby talk and pretending to be a baby again.
I know, for my part, the school transition has felt quite emotional. Like, I am really letting go of my baby daughter. And I have no idea what next year is going to look like when I will be sharing my love and attention between two little people.
I feel so grateful I am finishing up work at Christmas and can spend January just hanging out with my little 'un. Extra kisses and cuddles will be the order of the day, methinks.