Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Dance

Her sippy cups are taking over my coffee cups – and, the sippy cups are winning. There is no room for my assortment of favorite mugs – large and small – now that those plastic cups, with their handles and lids are camped out on the shelf. I reach in for a mug, bleary eyed and eager for that first gulp of coffee, her sippy cups wobble and avalanche onto the floor. Honestly, it is driving me crazy. And, it’s not just the storage of the darn things, it is also cleaning them. I am a slave to the sippy cup. With several cups often in circulation and scattered throughout the house, cleaning them has become a nighttime ritual. Plastic parts abound, disassemble, scrub, reassemble, and repeat – night after night. I am really looking forward to big girl cups!

Another milestone that I long for is potty training. Diaper changing is offically an ordeal, usually fraught with tears (sometimes mine!) and a lot of screaming (yes, sometimes mine too – although out of respect for the little one I keep the screams silent). With her naked bottom she flips on the changing table, a lot like a fish just pulled out of water, thrashing, bashing, kicking, and yelling. This is when exhaustion usually hits me and I want to throw hands in the air and say, “fine, go with out a diaper, see if I care.” Then, I get a visual of poop on the walls, pee on the carpet, and decide this is a battle I must fight…and win.

This is glimpse into our future, I fear. She and I will battle. While I look forward to the end of sippy cups and diapers, I know that this is leading to the inevitable. My baby isn’t always going to be my baby. The battle of the sippy cups and the diaper war will be replaced with more heart wrenching issues – friends, boys, clothes, etc.

I remember being on the other side of the fence, yelling at my mom, making her mornings horribly painful, telling her things just to get a rise out of her, challenging her efforts that really were in my best interest. If attitude and angst is genetic, I am in so much trouble! At the same time, I want her to be independent, to be a girl, and eventually a woman, who has opinions and knows what she wants. Ah, this is the dichotomy of motherhood -- we want them to have a strong voice, but we want still the final word.

I suppose this is the dance of mothers and daughters. As daughters, we believe we are our mother’s sun, controlling thier waking, and often sleeping, hours. In our youth, we truly believe we are their life. And, in the larger sense we are…or they are. These role are now so blurred for me because while I am still a daughter (and I hope I don’t torment my mom any more, and for what it’s worth, I apologize a million times over and have the utmost respect and undying love for her!), I am now a mom – I am on the other side. And, there is no denying it – she is my sun. She is the reason I get up every morning. She is also the reason I get up several times in the night. Sometimes because her cries beckon me, but also sometimes just to stare at her sleeping face. In these moments all I see is her innosence, sweetness, and my love for her is colossal. In the light of the moon, our tiny battle wounds heal and I relish in the moment, with one eye to the future. It is a future that I look to not with fear and apprehension, but with the optimism and hope that only a mother knows.

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