Absence Makes the Heart Grow Kinder

Even though one of my last posts was all about soaking up these last moments with my only, soon to be oldest, child, the tides have sure turned in the past month. While we have been out doing fun things, the "trying threes" have started to appear, making our time together almost dreadful. Yes, I love my boy to pieces. Yes, I am blessed to be home with him. But fighting with him at every turn of the corner has me completely wore out. My hubby made the comment the other day that I had lost my patience because instead of negotiating and reasoning with a three year old, I just walk away. I haven't lost my patience. I've lost the will to fight. 

You don't want to get dressed? Fine. You don't want to flush the toilet or wash your hands? Go stand in the corner. You can't pick your toys up? I'll give them away. The battle of wills has just been too much for me lately. I like to think that I could put some excuse on being 31 weeks pregnant, but the truth of it is, I just don't know how to handle it. 

No one tells you HOW to parent. Sure, you can ask for help or ask others what they have done, but what do you do when you feel nothing is working? Naturally, my hubby and I have rules and guidelines that we would ideally like our family to follow but how in the world do you actually communicate that to a three year old? The truth is this mom just needed a break. Not a go-spend-the-day-at-grandma's break. A break from this routine. A break from parenting. A break from my son. 

Luckily, I knew this type of break was on the horizon. Maybe that's why things were falling a part because I had started to count down the days until Harvey started part time "preschool/daycare/camp/whatever you want to call it" at his gymnastics facility. Well, today was the day. Today we started this four week journey of absence. 

Yes, today was the day. Today my introverted, shy boy was going to get shipped off to three hours of daycare. While I was longing for this day to come because I wanted a break so bad, I also knew that it was going to be hard. I knew that no matter how positively I talked about what was to come, when it was time for me to leave him, things were going to get ugly. So I started a few days ago by praying and came up with this. 

Dear Lord, Guide my words to give him strength. Guide my actions to give him confidence. Guide my emotions to give him hope. Guide me to be the good mom that my good boy deserves. Guide our days from wake to sleep. Guard and protect us. Show us ways to be kind to others, to listen with open hearts, to lend what is needed, and to thrive in our environment. Grant us forgiveness for our faults and greet us with grace. In Your Name, Amen

I've been praying that on repeat to get us through this day of firsts. We started the day with me waking him up and snapping a picture of him. 

My mom always took a picture of us to wake us up for the first day of school. It was super annoying. So naturally, that's the tradition I am picking to do with my kids. 

My mom always took a picture of us to wake us up for the first day of school. It was super annoying. So naturally, that's the tradition I am picking to do with my kids. 

He picked out clothes. Ate his breakfast. Told me again that he was going to play with friends while I was gone. We arrived early so he could look around. He met the teacher. He talked to the other adults. His best friend B even came early so he had a familiar face to get him started. I had him go to the bathroom. Told him I needed a hug, kiss, and goodbye. Then all hell broke loose...

Oh, he cried. He clung. He screamed. He sobbed. He did it all. I knew it was coming. Eventually, I had to just leave him while the teacher literally held him back from chasing me. I held off tears until I got into the car and of course promptly called the staff to tell them if he wouldn't stop crying that I could easily come get him. Oh, but he had already stopped crying within the three blocks it took for them to pick up the phone. #bigfatstinker

So off I went! Grabbed myself a coffee and took my work to the library where I was greeted with three hours of uninterrupted peace and quiet. I worked my Shaklee business. Organized my piles of lists. Completed things that I had set aside for this time. I also was blessed with many messages of people wishing me and Harv luck on this first day. Even though I had some tears, they weren't because I felt bad for Harvey. I knew we needed this break. I knew he would be fine once I left. I honestly felt bad for the poor teacher who had to be left with a screaming kid! 

And that absence, even for one day, made me kinder. I had more energy to play. I had more patience to negotiate. I had a desire to listen to that little voice and hear about his day. I felt joy that had been masked by annoyance for over a week. Here's to the next 30 hours of daycare!