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Entries about patience

Fiesta, wrestling match and safari

sunny 31 °C

Recent quote by Harvey Karp, author of Happiest baby on the block and Happiest toddler on the block:
"Toddlerhood is like three parts fiesta mixed with two parts wrestling match and one part jungle safari"

This made me laugh with the clarity and chaos of it all. Watching my son progress from innocent sweet baby to opinionated toddler has been definitely a growing experience for me, filled with new challenges and forcing me to again go to the books, after I thought I had finally gotten this parenting thing down. I told my husband last night, 'well, here we go. As soon as this parenting thing gets easy, as soon as you seem to have it figured out and are in a groove, it throws you a curveball and you are in a new phase.'

I suppose I should have known this to be true, and I have certainly been warned about it by those with older children, but I guess it hadn't hit me until this week. I thought I had figured out who this child I birthed was, had his personality, his needs, his general attitude figured out, but now it seems to be a moving target. There are days now where I find myself just scratching my head, wondering where to go from here.

The 3 parts fiesta:
1. A 16 month old literally had me laughing harder this week than I remember in a long while. What was it?
First time, it was during his wind-up hyper phase right before a nap, and he was peeking out from behind a door going "a-boo", "a-boo", trying to engage me in peek-a-boo. Then I walked into the closet, turned around, and caught him by surprise "A-BOO!" He literally fell over in hysterics. He was on his back giggling wildly, kicking his feet in the air. Which of course had me cracking up, which kept him going. It was so funny my husband had to peek in on us from his work in the office to see what was going on in there. Nothing, really, just another day with a joyful little kid... and the things that can make him laugh seem so simple, I have to remind myself to take that extra time to do it. Seeing him laugh that hugely is definitely one part fiesta.

Part two. Early morning, I awaken to hear Bodhi yelling, "awa", his word for water. I listen a bit longer and hear running water and more noises, awa, awa. I get up and find him and my husband splashing and spraying the shower hose in the bathtub. "Why are you in there so early?" I ask my husband. Go check out Bodhi's crib and you will see. I step into his room and I see his travel crib, sheet, sides, everything, covered with smeared poo. Looks like someone was a little bored when he got up this morning, my husband said, and then we both started laughing so hard we couldn't stop. Bodhi, when he hears someone else laughing, lets out this fake little, haha! laugh that just made it that much funnier... like he was in on the joke, and maybe he was. An early morning fiesta.

3. Bodhi is a bird chaser. He runs after any bird, pointing and screaming, 'didahh!' (as in doggie, because, every animal is currently a doggie to him) The birds of course, tend to fly away when they see an excited child running toward them, shouting, so he doesn't ever get very close, but it does not seem to deter him one bit from following them. There are so many birds here in Hawaii that this game has turned into a fairly steady event - diddahh! every time he hears a bird call, diddahh! when he sees the little birdies eating remaining crumbs off people's plates at restaurants. This awareness and excitement in the simple things is fiesta #3.

2 parts wrestling match:
Recently, he is becoming more and more determined to keep me in his room or even better, holding him, until he falls completely asleep. Actually, I think he would prefer me to hold him for his entire nap. Well, this is not happening for me. I physically cannot hold him up that long anymore, for one thing. I don't want to, for another reason. Hence, the wrestling match begins. It is baffling to me, this struggle of wills. I am caught completely off-guard. He tries all his angles, he stands up and cries for me, mama! mama! OK, this one still works on me. But he also tries wiggling out of my arms and running across the room, hoping it will become a game and he can stay up a few minutes longer. I try to keep a stern (and straight!) face about all of this. I try to be level-headed and calm, but I find myself using the words "STOP", "NO" and "DON'T" more than I care to think about...

The second wrestling match comes when it is time for dinner ("dodindodin"), and he is more interested in playing than eating. He rubs the food in his hair. He asks to get up out of his highchair as soon as we put him in. Please don't contain me, he pleads, I want to play... He wants to run around with me running after him, spooning food into his mouth while he plays. I mean, really. Can't a baby sit and eat a meal?!?

And this brings me to the one part safari, which is basically the feeling that I have everyday when I literally do not sit down...he is moving so constantly, that it is like being on a safari, observing and following the action as closely as you can. So, (when I have a moment), I am going back to the drawing board... reading, experimenting, and realizing that this whole parenting thing really is a roller coaster, and I just need to hang on and ride.

Posted by globalmomma 14:02 Archived in USA Tagged sleep wrestling patience routine toddlerhood struggle parenting Comments (0)

A Balanced Life

rain 23 °C

Last night I again watched the movie "Eat, Pray, Love". And I was struck by the ending where when the main character is worried about falling in love and getting lost, i.e. losing her balance within the relationship, the Bali palm reader Ketut says, (I am paraphrasing) "Sometimes you must lose your balance for love, in order for your life to be in balance".

I lost my balance in love when I fell for my husband Chris, and I also have completely lost it for my son Bodhi. I am amazed at the depth of this motherly love that I have heard about, but not understood until now. It is absolutely everything. It might change with time as a new romance changes to become more steady & less impulsive, deeper but not so all-consuming. I find this loss of balance somewhat unsettling, since I like to have my Renaissance life filled with friendship, family, work, love, art, travel, intellectualism, music, adventure...and right now, it is not all that balanced or full. But it IS incredibly rewarding, and I am reminded that it is completely within the path of mindfulness and balance that one, from time to time, finds oneself utterly off-balance. With joy, with love, with pain, with birth.

Today we were supposed to have a 2 1/2-3 hour drive from the town of Lutherstadt Wittenberg, in Saxony Germany, to the small farm town of Bad Rodach. Well, we happened to be about 10 cars behind a major accident, so we waited on the highway for two hours while they gathered emergency vehicles, brought the tow trucks, cleaned the roads, got the entire thing worked out. Part of me was frustrated...I wanted to get to our destination, a spa, and go for a swim. I wanted to eat. I wanted many things. Another part of me thankfully remembered to be grateful that instead of being involved in the accident, I was sitting by the side of the highway thinking about whoever was in the accident who was having a much worse day than me. And I had plenty of time to send them light and healing too. But what really was amazing was how actually, truly enjoyable the waiting was with Bodhi there. We took him out of his carseat and we played with the instrument knobs on the car. He turned dials, flipped switches, turned the steering wheel, moved the volume dial of the radio up and down, up and down. He climbed from front seat to back seat, he pounded on the windows, he laughed at the automatic door locks, he pushed more buttons. He was absolutely thrilled to be in that moment, playing with both of us in the car. It caused me to forget most of my frustration and aggravation that we weren't going to 'get there', and to simply be in the moment with my family. What a gift, and again, what a beautiful lesson from a little one. Had it been just Chris and me, as resourceful as we are, we still would have no doubt been mumbling and complaining about the long wait in the midday heat, our hunger, our needs. Our son helped keep all of those feelings in check and remind us most of all what is important. Not a midday swim, but the health and happiness of family, and the gratitude for this present moment.

Posted by globalmomma 13:09 Archived in Germany Tagged traffic the in highway moment accident lesson jam patience gratitude Comments (1)

Expecting the worst

We have arrived again on the Amalfi coast...this time south toward Sorrento in the area of Massa Lubrense. I am trying to figure out how it became known as the Amalfi coast instead of the Sorrento coast, because Sorrento is basically a city by Italian standards, while Amalfi is only several streets long. Maybe it has a better ring to it. We only drove through Sorrento but I was surprised at how large and un-quaint it was, compared with Amalfi and Positano. Too much road noise. In Italy, pedestrian zones are like gold. Now when I hear a town (like Lucca, Siena, Positano) has a pedestrian zone where cars are limited, I automatically get interested. Hmm, that sounds nice. Relaxing, quiet, none of the buzz of mopeds and the franticness of wondering if the next Fiat might run over your toes.

Being in Italy is a continual lesson in patience, unpredictability, and surprise. It keeps you sharp, because you have to be. It is really no place to be groggy or sleep-deprived. My husband, who has to navigate the narrow corridor streets and avoid hitting any manner of pedestrian, bus, mopeds angling past, the occasional goat crossing... he needs his sleep to have quick reflexes to drive appropriately in this country. There is no such thing as cruise control.

Things we often take for granted, like predicatability and standardization, are totally foreign here. I read a passage in a book by Italian author Beppe Severgnini,about the psychology of Italian hotels.
"Unlike other people, we are not looking for predictability and uniformity in a hotel. We want to be treated as unique individuals, in a unique place in unique circumstances. The model Agip chain was Italy's boldest attempt at standardization. It was an interesting cultural experiment with a hint of nationalistic self-sufficiency, but today hotels have taken another direction.....boarding houses are even more Italian if that were possible." When things do not work, they see it as a challenge. It is part of the experience when a toilet does not flush, the lights do not turn on, the TV doesn't work. To me, I think, Why on Earth didn't they check the room before we checked in to make sure everything was in working order? But here, it is not expected that everything be just so, in fact, it is basically expected that things will not be standardized and functional, that changes will have to be made.

Remember my post about the Ischia hotel, about the air conditioning not working? Well, here, at our new villa, it is the Internet connection. I tell the owner my husband must have internet to do his job. I ask if he can have it fixed by this evening, because my husband has to be online by 4PM. He smiles at me, shrugs, and says, "yes, I hope it is possible". I am used to "it will get done"; but here, everything is somewhat left up to the forces of nature, and the whims of the only person in town who has the authority to fix something. If he gets back from his lunch break by four, then yes, perhaps it will be possible. I try to remain calm, but inside I have been infuriated again and again by this process. Checking into a new place that says WIFI, Sky TV, air conditioning, etc, and having it not be so. Waiting one or two days until the right person can fix it, hoping for the best but expecting the worst. The internet did in fact get fixed, by 6pm, which is in fact quite an impressive job, so I thanked the owner for obviously pulling some strings to get it solved.

Posted by globalmomma 12:20 Archived in Italy Tagged hotels coast air italian amalfi sorrento chain conditioning internet ischia patience massa lubrense Comments (0)

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