Wow, I just realized that if this had been the title of a well written book, it'd be a best seller :). And not because I'm such a title genius, but because this is the question every parent asks every single day: what on earth does this kid want??
It's wonderful to learn some things that work - like favorite healthy (or at least not too unhealthy) foods, distractions most likely to stop tantrums, etc. But, several times in 24 hours, I find myself wondering what exactly goes into my daughter's head. Why did she seem to be crying for the ball, but now that I got it for her, she acts as if I've offended her. Why does she whine and shake her arms around the house, refusing to be comforted, fed or played with. Granted, this doesn't happen all the time - she's usually a very sweet kid, but sometimes, she's just annoyed. Period. It's like she REALLY wants something and is REALLY upset she just doesn't know how to tell me.
It doesn't help that the last few days I haven't been feeling my best (but that's a subject for another post). Yesterday was horrible, since I was a zombie half the day and Melissa puked twice (which she hadn't done in awhile). So today, I just decided to throw all expectation through the window and just take each minute - no, each second - as they came. Melissa threw her food on the floor? Okay, now I'm going to pick it up and the next second we're going to figure out what to do about her. No need having an emotional breakdown over this. Even though of course it's the first impulse to do so.
NOT saying at all that I haven't had any "aaaaaargh!!" moments (and the day's not over yet), but I've noticed I've been smiling a lot more. I think Melissa's noticing too. She's been less whiny, and when she does whine, it doesn't last nearly as long. I feel like we've bonded even more - she gave me little kissies in both cheeks! I don't think she'd ever kissed my cheeks (aside from a lick when she was younger :).
So anyway, this has brought me to my latest "aha" moment:
More than the right food, toy, game, etc, children want us to have a good attitude.
Of course they don't KNOW they want that, but in the end, they just want mommy and daddy to be happy with them, and around them. Our stress gives them stress. Which adds to the pressure for us to be in our best behavior around them, but I've realized it's for my own good. If I don't want my child to have a negative attitude, then I should not have one. It sounds so simple, yet it is SO hard, isn't it??
Try this today. Don't sweat the small stuff. Your life will not end if the carpet is dirty (trust me, I know!). Neither it will if the child is dirty, or if her feeding schedule isn't immaculate. I think we can do a lot more things right if we stop stressing out about doing them JUST right. That's a sure way of making a cranky mommy - and in the end, a cranky baby.