Where did my baby go?

I’ve always been a baby person. I LOVE babies, the littler the better. I love to sit and hold them. I’ve always wanted one (actually, several) of my own. Whenever I “only” got to hold a baby for 10 minutes even though I wanted to keep him or her for hours, I said “someday I’ll have my own baby that I can hold as much as I want.” Finally, I was ready. I had a college degree, a good job, a wonderful husband, and a new house. So I had a baby. It was harder than I thought (sleep deprivation!), but it was magical. I got to sit and hold my baby ALL DAY. And I got to do it while watching Law & Order! It doesn’t get better than that. But my baby didn’t stay a baby. She grew up and is now a toddler.

To be honest, I’ve never cared for toddlers. They usually can’t communicate well, so you never know what they want. They’re eccentric little creatures and if you babysit one, there’s a list of things you must or must not do to avoid rocking their little world, an elaborate bedtime routine, and a list of foods they will or will not eat. I didn’t enjoy babysitting toddlers, but I convinced myself it would be different when I had my own. It had to be different, because I was going to be stuck with a toddler for several years. 

I’ve never enjoyed older kids either. Elementary school kids are alright, I guess, but they’re pretty whiny. Tweens are insufferable, and I’ve heard parenting teenagers is difficult, at best.

I always worried. Would I someday hate all tweens except my own? Would I grow to love my own and her friends? Or would I just pray for the tween years to pass quickly? I convinced myself that as each stage came, I’d enjoy it because I loved my kids so much. Sure, I’d like some ages better, but I’d never hate certain age spans in their entirety.

I get more scared each day. Because toddlerhood is killing me. I enjoy Meg when we’re with other people, because she’s usually on her best behavior and trying to be cute (wow, is she cute). But at home, alone, I struggle through the days (although its only two days a week). I keep waiting for the enjoyment. But all I get is incessant whining. ALL DAY WHINING. And I hear it doesn’t get better. It probably gets worse, because now she usually whines because she wants something. Its just hard to figure out what because she can’t talk.

I have been very cautious about saying I wish she could talk. Because with talking comes backtalk, willful disobedience, and constant nooooooooo’s. When all that happens, I figured I’d be looking back on pre-verbal Meg and wishing I could go back. That if I said “I wish she could just talk!” I’d end up eating my words. I don’t care anymore. I WISH SHE COULD TALK. I need her to say “I’m thirsty” instead of whining for an hour, then grabbing my water glass and spilling it.

But I’m getting off topic. Having a toddler is turning out to be very hard for me and it scares me. What if I only enjoy babies? What if I never really enjoy any other ages? What if its always a struggle? I mean, I know it will always be a struggle, but what if I hate it?  (I wouldn’t say I hate toddlerhood. But I also wouldn’t say I love it.)

On good days, I tell myself I can’t know I won’t like older kids.  Maybe I’ll love them!  Maybe I’ll find an age I like almost as much as babies.  Its possible!

But today was a bad day.  A really bad day.  It shouldn’t factor into this because Meg has an ear infection.  She doesn’t feel well and obviously having a rough day is to be expected.  But by 7 pm, I was actually curled on the floor crying, convinced I’d always hate parenting.  That our best days were behind us because the baby stage is over.

I know this isn’t true.  Well, I don’t know, I convince myself it isn’t true.  But on days like today, I find myself very scared it just might be.

Comments

  1. Chin up, girl! It DOES get better. And learning to talk does mean all of those things, but it also means that she can tell you “I want juice/water/milk” instead of simply fussing at you. And the good days get more frequent. I won’t tell you the bad days are over then (they aren’t. really, they aren’t) but I have to tell you there was a period post-1, pre-2 that was AWFUL and now it’s more like 50/50 (and it’s in groups – so we’ll have a week that is awesome and then several days of not so awesome.)

    I don’t know you, but I think it will get better for you. It did for me. I had those days. I had those days where I was so ready to get away from Fuss that I would have done anything to be able to afford daycare/babysitter, etc. and get some time away. And seriously, take some time for YOU – not just work time – some time for yourself – maybe w/ your husband or maybe by yourself or with a girlfriend. You need time away too to recharge.