For a moment things slow down and I finally have a real second to see my daughter as she begins her gymnastics class. Her hair hasn't been brushed, she is wearing a turquoise skirt that is a little too small for her and somehow always on backwards, pajama top that has a art deco type image on it and striped tights. In that moment, I see the little bow on the skirt which should be near her belly is of course right above her tush. Her top is actually a boy top from some pj's that she had been wearing all day and seconds before she met on the mats she tried to drink from the water fountain which was noticeable by the soaked shirt. The tights aren't tight. They are sort of slouchy. Needless to say, my toddler looked a mess. I shook my head and muttered something under my breath that was heard by Coach Tori who asks kindly, "Did she dress herself?" I pondered for a moment my options. If I told her no, which was the truth I would be taking responsibility for the disjointed sloppy appearance of my child. If I told her yes, well I would be morally corrupt by perpetuating a lie. After not thinking about it at all, I told her yes. Coach Tori, smile, "She's cute! She almost matches!"
Earlier in the day my mother sent me this picture:
As a parent there are always going to be things that you have to let roll off your shoulder. What she wears at 2 is certainly not going to make or break her future college choices or possible career opportunities. But once again what I think is the latent Cuban mother that is in me, turns out is very much on the surface. I want her to look coordinated and lovely all the time. Her father on the other hand, pulls out the first two items and puts them on regardless of size or color. I think he does it to drive me nuts, which it does. Lord, knows I am the least high maintenance person out there, however I find myself caring more about their appearance then my own. As if the culmination of her outfit is a reflection on my parenting.
Parenting which of course at 2, really has begun. Vivian is just a rolly, joy. Every thing is easy and fun. New foods are yummy, moving in circles is a treat and attempting to crawl is the challenge on deck. She says Mama and Dada and her every utterance is a reason to rejoice. Not much parenting.
Sometimes I wonder if its purposeful. Babies get you all comfortable. Mushy emotional on the insides. This is why after they turn 1 we keep using months to determine their age 14 months, 16 months, 20 months, because while they are in months they are still babies and we are still amused by them walking around and grabbing things they aren't suppose to grab. We still think it's endearing when they spit out their foods. We don't mind when we change a diaper because they are babies!
But suddenly they hit 2 and the rouse is up. We want them potty trained and so every poop we wipe we give the speech about the potty. You bribe them with m&m's, and stickers. A mini pep rally occurs every time there is contact. They grab things they aren't suppose, particularly at the store, we tell them to keep their hands off. They can't touch. Don't touch. Our voices get stern and somewhat under your breath because you don't want other people to hear you, " Put it down. You are going to break it!" You ask them what they want to eat, they say nugget, then they don't want nuggets. You sign and ask again, they say mac and cheese and as soon as the nuggets are in the trash, that 2 year old cries out, "OH NO my nuggets!" and starts crying. It's really enough to make a parent go coo-coo. This is when the parenting really starts, you have to stay calm more often then you really would like. You have to take a deep breath and give that potty speech with the hope that at some point it will just stick, forever.
It is a privilege to be a parent, but it certainly isn't always easy. So I lie to the Coach Tori easily and willingly because in truth, it's a speck in the jar of what is going on that day in the life of a mom.