The sewing machine has been in the dining room since before Thanksgiving. More crafting and less dining is going on in there. I had a guilty moment yesterday when Guthrie set the coffee table for dinner instead of the actual dining table.
This weekend has been no exception. Most of what we're making - especially the stuff Guthrie helps with - will be presents so no hints on that for another few weeks. But we made more wrapping paper using some leftover bubble wrap as a stamp on tissue paper, John tried out fusing some plastic bags together (hopefully they will eventually become some more reusable shopping bags for us), and I made the top for Guthrie's Christmas quilt. She helped some - mostly by draping herself and her stuffed animals with the fabric before I cut it. But after her nap she sat quietly on my knee while I sewed strips together. If I wasn't still in my pjs I would have asked John to snap a picture. But there was much flannel and John's old Smith Hall t-shirt so...
She was fascinated by the bobbin. When I left the machine to go pin some pieces together she immediately took my spot and pretended to sew her own stuff. She is such a copy cat! It was sweet and I had another moment that replaced the guilt of the whole dining table incident - one where I remembered I'd always hoped I'd be making things for and with my baby. And the realization that this was one of those perfect moments.
This is such a complicated age. I'm sure it has nothing on the teen years, but still. She's got so much energy and is learning so much and we can be having so much fun and playing and then BAM she emotionally vomits all over everyone. And everything. We're getting better at reading her signs of exhaustion and she is getting better at telling us her needs before she melts into a sobbing mess on the floor, but it's a long row to hoe. A very, very long row. At least 18 years. Ok or maybe 30 as I've been known to emotionally vomit on occasion too. As long as we're being honest here. There was that one time with me and the dozen eggs. Man, that made a mess. Man, was I embarrassed in a you-have-to-laugh-at-your-totally-inappropriate-outburst sort of way.
I go back and forth between getting impatient and angry and yell-y when she screams in my face or hits after I've scooped her up off the floor of the produce department (and don't worry, I let her have a moment on the floor while I take stock of the situation) and remembering that she is two and just wrapping her in my arms and turning on some Reiki and waiting it out with as much grace as possible. Remembering that 25 months ago she didn't even know about this place, let alone the emotions that the human experience comes with. I struggle to balance the allowing her to get her emotions out and not letting her be a total punk.
She's had a lot of time outs lately. Sometimes she'll put herself in time out. Sometimes mommy and daddy put themselves in time out. The stairs are getting a lot of action these days either way and we're all trying to remember to take a break when it gets to be too much. It's a tough call for me - do we say screw it and be 20 minutes late to where ever in order for us all to be in an ok state or do we just force her to put her effing coat and mittens on? Learning experience be damned! I like to be on time. I like to be not sweaty and stressed out even more though, I think. I need to stop thinking about this as a competition. That's for sure. That it isn't about who is winning the battle. That it's about us growing into better people because of the experience. That if I have a kid who minds, but doesn't know how to express her emotions appropriately and timely, it's not worth it- as much as I'd like her to do everything I ask of her. Right Now. And alternately if I have a kid who knows how to talk about her feelings and express them, but can't listen and is totally disrespectful it's not worth it either.
Mostly I think it's hard for me to remember that Guthrie is a whole person. That she is all of her experiences and moods and emotions and knowledge, which actually number a lot more than I give her credit for. It's not that she wasn't a whole person when she was younger it's just that she was more, I don't know, malleable? new, maybe? Now it's just so obvious that she is her own person. That no matter how much I want her to try on that pair of snow boots in Dillard's because it's getting late and there are three salespeople watching me and her parents are getting impatient and we are all hungry and we are going to go get our Christmas tree after this if you will JUST TRY THAT STUPID BOOT ON!! that unless I back off and let her get her own shit together there will be no boots being tried on. So, that's what I did. I said, Time Out for us and took her to the bathroom and sat her up on the changing table and we talked about it. I told her that there was snow on the ground and it's winter and she can't wear her rain boots in the snow. And I told her this was a frustrating situation for me and I was sorry I lost my patience. And she told me that she was with mommy and daddy and Guthrie. And that there was snow outside. And that she wanted some juice. And then I asked her, "Guthrie have you had a chance to get your shit together so we can go try on some boots?" She said, "Yesssss!" (and yes, someone gave me a look for swearing at my kid. whatever. it wasn't in anger.)
And then the boots didn't fit.
Oh well. We grew as people. We laughed about it later. John and I got to hold hands and feel ok about the job we're doing as parents. But, man, it was a little more drama than I needed on a Sunday afternoon.
So, this weekend, with the sewing and painting there were no less tears, but I did have a better perspective on it. Oh this learning about life thing. It's all just so exhausting. I'm sure it is for my kid too.