Keep staring. I got this.

Have you ever tried to nail JELL-O to the wall? Of course not. That would be absurd. Daily living with a toddler is kind of like this. Absurdity all over the place. Moments when nailing JELL-O to the wall seems like it might be an easier feat than bargaining rationally with someone who is on the cusp of being independent. And by independent, I really just mean she can hold her own juice box. But not independent enough to refrain from squeezing the dang thing all over.

My daughter is nineteen months old. Can’t say more than five words. Shakes her head no like it’s her job. And is testing her newfound independence as we speak. I’ve found myself standing face to face with her on multiple occasions the past couple weeks. And then reflecting, like an idiot. Did I just get owned by a twenty-two pound human who puts stickers on her feet and then tries to smell them? I sure did. When did it become okay to let THAT happen? {The owning. Not the feet smelling. I’m fairly certain the feet smelling is only okay until you can put on your own shoes. Then I think it’s probably a little undesirable}. I’m not the pushover in this family. But somehow I’ve found myself surrendering repeatedly to someone that’s hardly over two feet tall. In my own home. There are days when it’s truly a game of survival. Pick your battles, I remind myself. But what about the moments when you’ve fallen victim to forgetting the whole Hey, wait a minute! I’m the parent and you’re the kid so this is how it’s going to go. We get shamed for being a meanie. And we get shamed for being a weenie. You can’t win. But I think I’d rather have the reputation of being a meanie. So I’ve been stepping up my game a bit.

I’m the mom who doesn’t let her toddler eat the mulch out front. And when I pick said toddler up to remove her from that area and she SCREAMS bloody murder. Then I guess I’m just going to let the neighbors stare and think I’m a meanie because I’m letting my child stand in the garage and cry while I finish cleaning out the car. Or maybe it’s something with the task of running errands on a tight timeline. She has mastered the top part of the buckle all by herself. But leave it to the busy Target parking lot to hand me a moment of struggle. She can’t get them to line up correctly so she keeps trying to jam them together and 1) she’s going to break the plastic 2) she’s going to pinch her skin or 3) I’m going to be standing there until the toothpaste expires. So I step in to help but she FREAKS out because now she’s not a big girl doing it on her own. And the car next to us who’s loading their stuff in can’t figure out why I just won’t let her do it. Yep. Meanie. Again. Or perhaps it’s when we’re checking out in a store and the shiny objects that have caught her attention are items that I don’t want to be forced to purchase because she’s damaged all of them. So I pick her up and hold her little body as she throws her head back and works to squirm out of my arms, all the while crying and screaming. And then her older brother gets horribly embarrassed and reminds me that everyone is looking at us. Sorry kid. I can’t help that the flustered associate behind the counter can’t figure out how to remove the ink tags. Or that all the individuals staring have nothing better to do. Or that the universe saw a vulnerable opportunity to test my momhood. Regardless, I’m not letting her down to wreak havoc. So you got it. Meanie.

I have yet to be the weenie out in public. Mostly because she hasn’t hit age two yet. I’m certain the day will come and I just won’t have it in me to deal with all the staring. The silent {and not so silent} judging. Or the deafening sounds that little girls are supremely good at. So the moments that reduce me to weenie will undoubtedly bring me to my knees. But it’ll be okay. Because it’s not my first rodeo. And I know that surviving motherhood takes a little bit of both.

Keep staring. I got this.



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