I guess you really don't know what kind of mother you're going to be until you reach that point in your life. There are the ubiquitous cliches about learning what it means to love- blah, blah. I am not minimizing those commentaries, but, it's just more than that. I have learned a lot about myself through Gavin. Oddly enough, my crazy toddler makes me calmer. These little people are just young enough to get a free pass on some of their antics. For example, last night Gavin chucked one of his toys and it hit me squarely on my cheekbone. It was thrown with all of his might and it freakin' hurt! While I was upset, I knew that he had not intentionally tried to hurt me so I just calmly explained that he needs to be more gentle. (Oh, and then I held my chilled glass of white wine up to my face for 30 minutes!) If kids don't teach you patience, I don't know what will. However, I do not let him get away with some of his games. You know, the super fun ones like put the shoes on, kick them off, want them back on, etc. I will tell him, "Gavin, you cannot manipulate me." He will then proceed to throw himself on the floor in such a show of rage that it's almost impressive! I find that if I ignore him, he eventually picks himself up and moves on.
When I'm cooking in the kitchen, I will explain what I'm making. I know very well that he does not know what I'm talking about but language is important so I converse with him like he's one of my friends. And that's just it- this little 20 month old is becoming just that- a little friend. We have inside jokes and games. He listens and chatters about. When songs come on the radio that have a catchy beat, we'll dance. I could be having the crappiest day but his giggles are so contagious that I can feel my mood rebound quickly. It's a relationship that makes me laugh because as much as we teach our kids- it turns out these little people have a few lessons to teach us as well. Happy Motherhood!