Yesterday around 7:30am, Greenleigh walked into my room. As usual, she stood by my bedside staring at me (a little creepy, but I’ve gotten used to it) until I asked her if she wanted to get into bed. It was one of those rare mornings where Hazeline hadn’t woken up yet, so the other side of the bed wasn’t already occupied by a 1 year old screeching “Dora!” or “milk!” at the top of her lungs.
No, this was a quiet morning.
So I seized the moment. I helped Greenleigh into the bed and she laid her head on Erajh’s pillows. I rearranged the blankets so they were covering both of us (Don’t take that as an admission that I’m a covers hog, because I’m not going to admit that. It may be true, but I’m not going to admit it). For what seemed like forever, Greenleigh and I laid in bed staring at the ceiling. All was still and quiet in the house. I could hear each of us breathing. Then I turned over and looked at her. She did the same. “What are you looking forward to doing at school today?”, I asked. “Playing with my friends. The slide. Arts and crafts. Mommy, can I have your iPad? Mommy, I want to watch Dora. No Mickey. No Dora, then Mickey, then Sophia. Mommy, I’m thirsty. Can I have a juice box? Why isn’t Baby Sister up yet? Can I go wake her up?”… And there was more, I just tuned out after a while. Just like that, the flood gates had opened. The calm was gone and my day had started. I got up to get her a sippy cup and my iPad and smiled.
Greenleigh is almost 4 years old and this is what life has become – total chaos with moments of calm. And after years of total chaos with no refuge, I’m choosing to embrace the calm moments.
Greenleigh is a child that has always needed my 100% undivided attention. She’s a tough kid and despite what anyone says, she was not an “easy baby” (although she did sleep very well, very early on). She never played well on her own. She’s loud. She cried and whined incessantly. Her tantrums started well before 1 year and have startled medical professionals. At one of Greenleigh’s checkups (before Hazeline was born), I begged the doctor to evaluate her for behavioral or hyperactivity disorders. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want her to have them, I just wanted to know why my child seemed to have the energy of 10 little boys her age and the attention span of a goldfish. “But Doctor, you don’t understand…”, I pleaded.
But with 4 looming, we have turned a corner. A very good corner.
Greenleigh (finally) has “favorite” toys, like white blankie and “Eh” the Bunny. She can and will sit and watch an entire television show. She loves to cuddle. She’ll tell you when she’s tired. She can play on her own for short periods of time. She can tell me what she does and doesn’t want for dinner. She the loves interactive games that she plays on the LeapPad2 that she got for Christmas. She is able to sit still and be quiet for periods of time. She even went to church with Erajh on Sunday and made it through the entire 1 hour service without needing to be “escorted” out of the building. These are all things that she could not (or would not?) do last year.
I won’t tell you that everything is perfect because her behavior still leave a lot to be desired at times. She still knows how to push my buttons better than anyone else on Earth. Her attention span is rather small, so although I’ve toyed with it, I’m still not taking her to the movies anytime soon. Tantrums are plentiful, and she still cries and whines like a champ…after all she’s has plenty of time to perfect her technique. It’s almost a sport for her now.
But the point is, things are getting better. I don’t expect her to be perfect, or anything close to it. I just want her to be her…and for me to be able to manage her. And that’s what’s happening right now. As parent and child, we are in a better place than we were 2 years ago, or even a year ago.
If this is what 4 has in store for me, I’m really looking forward to it.
*Photo courtesy of Karen Lisa Artistic Photography