Being a parent is brutally hard. And to be bluntly honest, being a parent to MY child is especially hard. All the advice, all the parenting rules, all the good old tricks - all of it fails with respect to her. She is strong willed, resourceful, perfectionist, intelligent, and willing to do WHATEVER it takes to be right.
My determination to be a good mother and to use primarily positive parenting tools is part of what makes parenting so difficult. If I were willing to spank and discipline using traditional punishments, I might have an easier time, but it certainly wouldn't be any more pleasant. Instead I've chosen the path of conscious, positive parenting, which means I'm always seeking to renew and strengthen our connection and our bond.
So being a parent is exhausting. This past weekend, I thought I couldn't take it any more. If I had to fight one more battle over the simplest thing; if I had to listen to one more whining complaint; if I had to watch one more meal be treated like a plaything; well, I was just done.
And then today we went to the State Fair. My husband took the day off from work and the 3 of us arrived at the Fair right at 9:00 AM. It was a glorious, although chilly, day. We had a blast. We bought her whatever food she wanted. For breakfast she had hot chocolate. For second breakfast she had an ice cream cone. Yes, her hands got brutally cold, but we warmed them up and she was fine. We rode rides, we ate cotton candy, we watched a milking demonstration, we checked out the crafts, etc. She requested and got a whole cob of roasted corn, which she devoured. I was delighted that my child, offered every sugary treat under the sun, wanted a vegetable! We went to a pumpkin carving demonstration that was fascinating for me, but less so for her. Yet she quietly sat and watched. Sure, she was wiggling all over the place, but she was quiet. She very quietly asked if we could leave, and when I said no, she didn't object. What an amazing kid! She generously shared her cotton candy with us. We went to the pig races and had to sit and wait for 20 minutes, during which time she was delightfully patient. It was a gift of a day.
Today was the reassurance I needed that I'm not a total failure as a parent. That all the hard work I'm putting in day and night is paying off. I have a 4 year old who was sleep deprived (she normally naps) and high on sugar and yet did not misbehave or have a tantrum once, even when we said no to leaving the carving demonstration and no to more rides. She's a good kid. Our work is not in vain.