Monday, September 15, 2008

Good enough

So...I have a son. Maybe you've heard me mention him? Once or twice? Every 2nd post? And...I think he's a bit of a tough nut. Not particularly social. Pretty vocal. Pretty creative. Pretty gorgeous. Full of mischief. Full of ideas. Full of gifts. Full of challenges.

When I was pregnant with M, he was this super-active baby. Jab. Jab-jab. Jib. Jab. Flip. Flip. Flip.

I would just stare at my giant belly in awe...and pain, watching the shape of an entire foot protrude from just below my ribs. Hi-ya! And all that flipping and poking and jabbing was apparently tangling him tighter and tighter in his cord, until he was suspended in an umbilical net and unable to descend all the way into the canal without bringing the placenta with him. It was a dramatic birth, complete with an emergency race across town on Thanksgiving morning in the back of the midwife's car trying not to push.

And then there were three of us. On the most meaningful Thanksgiving day I've ever known.

Drama-filled and not how we'd planned, Immediately, our lives were in orbit around this tiny person, who was promptly and thoroughly pissed off. And needy. And cranky...And delicious.

First pictures of him as a baby make me laugh, because he's wearing JUST the same expression he has now when he's peeved with everyone.

Pissed off from bath
Pissed off about bedtime
YOU are on my list...

Five years later, I have to think that his gestation and birth were pretty prescient. There are a million times a week (a day!) I find myself thinking I'm the worst parent ever...or (much worse) that he's the worst kid. I make so many mistakes. Mistakes of giving too much: too much stuff, too many distracting things, too much giving IN and being subsequently inconsistent; and more mistakes giving too little: time, energy, direction, baths...

How do you all do it? How do you cope when you've had the fifteenth stupid argument about whether or not the store you drove to could POSSIBLY have the SAME noodles the OTHER store, the one 20 minutes from where you are, has!?!?! How he CANNOT wear new underpants today because he LOVES the ones with SKULLS ON THEM - the ones in the hamper!!! Give him skull underpants or he will not! Will not! Will NOT! GET!! DRESSED!!! Is he a dictator and I'm the slavedog lackey? Sometimes. Would it kill me to drive to another neighborhood to buy noodles? No...but I don't always WANT to. Am I sometimes barely treading water? Ohhhh...yes.

Jab. Jib. Poke poke. Flip. Flip....flip.

I'd love to be one of those moms who is so serene she can offer advice, and little bon mots about the beauty of raising your kids and how precious and special and magical it is. How it burns away the layers of pretention and leaves you purer. Is that me? Oh...I don't know. I'm tired. I'm cranky. I love my kids and sometimes I wonder how people get through these years of figuring out how to go with the flow when the flow thinks you are too stupid to navigate your own pants, let alone how to be a good enough parent...

Some days I just want to get through it with all of us loving each other and forgiving each other on the other side of their childhoods. Am I aiming too high???


elliesmadre said...

When Eleanor is especially trying, I try to remember that these qualities that are making me want to implode are qualities that will make her into an awesome adult. The world needs people with fire, convictions, and passion. I try to think about the assertiveness she has and be thankful that she knows exactly what she wants.

That being said...I try. But I definitely don't always succeed. And usually I am left to ponder this after I am quivering in the corner after she has "expressed her assertiveness". lol

Hedro said...

I often wonder this myself... especially lately.


elliesmadre said...

I tagged you on my're it!