Thursday, March 6, 2014

Final Thoughts Month of March: Blog 1- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Happy Birthday Month Ellie!

March brings so much new into our lives every year- a season of spring, longer days, warmer weather, our trio of birthdays… and a new blog theme!  I am so proud of our blogging journey and all of our letters that are waiting for you when you are old enough to read them.  Going into these next 12 months, we have a beautiful new yellow binder to house this year’s letters.  

Your Mimi and I are at a crossroads though.  We gave this blog to you as a gift when you were 1 year old and we have explored so much in these weeks, months, and years since then.  We THINK that this might be the last year that we write to you on a weekly basis for several reasons.  Namely, you will be 5 next year and you will have your own memories at that point.   And secondly, we believe that you should have a measure of privacy.  I’ve always shared you online with friends and family with censored pictures and captions but at some point I believe that you should have a say in what becomes public.  So until your Mimi and I figure out our next chapter (as we both are struggling with our passion for writing, our love of you, our hatred of deadlines, and our confusion with where we go from here), we will theme year 4 as final thoughts…  but the takeaway from it all and the common theme for our writing these past few years has been: Document as much as you can of your children’s lives- the good, bad, and really funny moments!

What I’ve learned along the way is that there isn’t one way to parent.  I’m not sure if love is always enough but I know I have a lot of it to give to you and Will so even in my parenting failures, you both always know that you are valued and treasured.

Final Thoughts: Make your peace with your reality.

Ellie, I live in a world where we judge each other.  And sadly the worst critic is often internal.  Mom guilt is a real feeling… But I have learned to accept what works for our family and I am ok with that.  Let me explain:

Fantasy World Scenario #1- you don’t watch any TV.
Reality: Ellie, I’ve always been a mom with strong convictions.  And I’ve always said to people, “No, Ellie hardly watches any TV!”  But I’ve realized lately (with you being able to recite infomercials and telling me I should buy a shark vac to get up the cat hair off the rug), technology is a part of our lives.  You have tried to get out of school by using symptoms you saw on Doc McStuffins (particularly the one where a hungry hippo ate too much and got full).  Your favorite show right now is Full House (I DVR it from Nick at Nite and let you watch it while I make dinner).  And on the occasional weekend nights when we have our friends over late, it’s easy and convenient to pop in a movie in your playroom for you to watch instead of going through your bedtime routine. 

Fantasy World Scenario #2- my beautiful little girl will always look like a princess.
Reality: Ellie, you have been rotating between two well-worn (although always clean) outfits.  You are hyper-sensory oriented so you insist on wearing for comfort.  Although it is a little annoying that I have on multiple occasions explained to people that yes you do have a closet full of clothes and shoes but you choose your 2 go-to outfits only.  And I’ve had to also clarify to some of my peers that yes, your leopard print fleece pants and your peace sign/happy face fleece pants do come in solid colors (and you actually own them in purple, pink, and black), but you prefer the livelier patterns.  I’ve decided to pick my battles and they will not be over clothes or hair.  What I’ve learned here is that you are even more beautiful because you are independent. 

Fantasy World Scenario #3- you only eat healthy and homemade food.
Reality: If I can get you to eat a bite of a breakfast bar, one fish stick, a piece of processed cheese, or a lick of peanut butter, I feel a measure of success that you at least got a smidge of protein at some point during the day.  If given the opportunity, you would live solely on chocolate milk and sugar.  You would rather boycott food altogether and become a complete grump-a-lump before you figure out that your blood sugar has dropped and you need to eat (this is often a source of us conflicting).  Tonight, we had a win- I was excited that you ate a couple of pieces of edamame, the white shell of a hard-boiled egg, and a few bites of an apple for dinner (but I would also have to be honest and say that you ate a fruit roll up and an ice cream sandwich for dessert).   

Fantasy World Scenario #4- you are an angel while we are grocery shopping.
Reality: You are always an angel grocery shopping because you are allowed to eat or buy most anything on our trip.  Chances are we leave with a donut and a balloon but we have a happy girl going down each of those aisles with me!

Fantasy World Scenario #5- I treat both you and Will the same.
Reality: Will is not getting weekly letters from your Mimi and I.  We are simply too tired.  He can share yours.  Although he sits in his jumparoo when you watch TV, he’s getting just as much screen time.

Basically Ellie, let go of other people’s judgments and even your own (be honest with yourself).  What works for you and for your family may not for someone else.  You are a well-adjusted child and I don’t think you are missing out on anything simply because you watch TV once in a while.  I will not have a sense of guilt about my parenting decisions.

I feel like all I did was blink and you are now just about 4 years old.  But the amazing thing about how moms are created is that we cherish and relish each phase.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said over the years, “Oh this stage is the BEST!”  And I’m still saying it.  Now that you are 4 in 2 weeks, I love that you have grown into such an imaginative, mature, sweet girl.  

I can reason with you now and even have real conversations with you.  You understand feelings.  And I’m even getting a glimpse or two of what my life will be like with you as a teenager.  You and I clash (and we acknowledge this by banging our two fists together) often because of your strong-willed personality. 

Whatever becomes of our blog next year, I’m so happy that we did this for you.  It’s like a baby book on steroids!  But seriously, it’s a conglomeration of 3 generations of love and that’s what we want most of all for you to feel Ellie and for you to pass down to your children.

I love you Ellie!


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