Posted by Gina Perkins, Pre-School Mommie | Posted in Gina Perkins, The Preschool Mommy | Posted on 31-05-2011
Tags: camaraderie, Gina Perkins, honesty, preschool, sleep, tantrum
I bet this is going to come as a complete and total surprise to you, but we’re having sleep issues in our home…..again. Of course I am being sarcastic, as anyone who has read even a handful of my blogs will know that I write about sleep (or lack thereof), almost constantly (in between subjects like poop, tantrums, and my crazy phobias). I often feel really alone in this little corner of the parenting world because I seem to be surrounded by parents, and kids, who have this sleeping thing down pat.
We are fortunate to live in a wonderful neighborhood….like, the best ever. There are kids everywhere – including right next door. Our neighbors have two little girls, with a third on the way. I often tap the mom’s brain for wise tidbits as we’re both unloading groceries, or watching our girls overturn rocks in the front yard looking for snails. Our conversations are always so brief, but I have come to look forward to our short visits because they are always so real. I would guess that once you’ve got three kids under the same roof, you’re pretty much past sugar-coating, which I so appreciate.
A few days ago, we coincidentally met up at the end of our driveways. We were talking about her pregnancy, and all of the home projects on their radar in preparation for baby. She mentioned being tired, and went on to say that her three year old will no longer fall asleep unless she has someone laying beside her. My eyes beamed with thoughts of, “So, you totally understand my world?” I immediately felt a wave of self-forgiveness wash over my shoulders. Just a second prior to her effortless admission, I had been beating myself up for “causing” the same behavior in DJ as of late. My neighbor mentioned that their household has been playing musical beds…..their three year old sleeping in their bed, and her husband sleeping in the three year old’s bed. Gosh, it sounded all too familiar. I could hardly say “US TOO!” quickly enough.
While I am sure she didn’t understand why I felt so enthusiastic about their suffering, I know she felt compelled to conclude our conversation with, “Just when you think you have something right, they will wake up with new needs, new insecurities, new fears and new wants – and you’ll be right back to where you started.” This was a mom with a lot of experience under her belt, and she was reassuring me that this is just how parenthood goes, especially toddlerhood. Phew. I wasn’t alone.
Yesterday we took DJ to the Gilroy Gardens. As we were standing in line, there was an insecure dad behind us (trust me, I can smell this all-too-familiar character). He kept asking his toddler to behave, and kept apologizing for the kid’s erratic behavior. I felt badly for him, because I know how it feels to worry that those around you will blame you for your kid’s inherently terrible behavior. As in perfect timing, another child just a few places behind us in line, threw himself onto the cement in a full-blown, hysterical tantrum. His mother, who also had an older child by her side, made no apologies and just went about her business – paying no attention to the fact that her child was rolling around the pavement in old gum and stale popcorn. The apologetic dad took one relieved look at her and said, “So, I see we’re not alone.” And just like that, blissful camaraderie filled the line wrapping around the carousel.
What I have learned about parenting these past 21 months is that the absolute greatest gift (to both give and receive) is the gift of safety in numbers. The more people we can relate to, the easier this gig gets. Feeling like we’re not the only one to be drudging through the trench-of-the-moment, gives us the confidence to keep on crawling. As parents, let’s pledge to just keep being honest about the things happening under our own roofs. You just never know who has been dying to shout, “US TOO!”