1. A supportive husband makes all the difference between a caring, nurturing mother and a crazy one. Seriously. Many have been the days when I am feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, and in sweeps the hubby and makes everything better. Sometimes he works quietly in the background, doing the dishes when I've fallen asleep without meaning to (again!). Other times he's vocal, full of helpful advice and loving words. But most of all, he makes everything better just by being there.
2. Night-wakings. It gets tiresome, sure, but remember when you would give anything for a little one to hold and to love? Well, you have her now - so cherish every part of it.
3. The Poop Superpower. All kids have it. You know, the ability to poop at will, only to be utilised when Mum sits down for a meal or when you are all ready to finally leave the house for that important errand that had to be done last week.
There have been days when there hasn't been a single poop the whole day, and no sooner have I sat down for my first warm meal of the day, when suddenly there are little hands tugging at my clothes, innocent eyes looking up at me while a sweet voice declares, "Ammi! Poopoo."
4. Little Perfectionist. When your toddler sees you lying down, with your eyes closed, body quite still - it doesn't just occur to her that you're sleeping (or trying to). She must make sure of the truth! She must come and shake you, poke you, repeatedly shout, 'Ammi, Ammi, AMMI!!!' until you groggily open your eyes to see what the ruckus is all about. Having thus annihilated any chance of getting the elusive nap, she will ask in the most innocent way, 'anna anna?' (in English: were you sleeping?) *facepalm*
Not anymore, Baby Girl, not anymore!
5. Kickfest! As soon as you conceive again, your child will miraculously decide that it is not enough to take over the family bed - no, Ammi must be kicked in the tummy repeatedly throughout the night. With as much force as possible.
(Obviously, the mountain of pillows comes into existence much before the third trimester in this situation!)
6. Little Helper. The 18-24month olds love 'helping' around the house. In our case, 'cleaning' with a 'toochoo' (tissue/wet wipe) is an all time favourite. Hand Baby Girl a wipe and watch her wipe down every surface in sight - the only unscribbled-on corner of the coffee table; the sofa; her face; your face (yes, in that order!). Far be it for her to clean in a way that actually helps Ammi. She is desperate to help, yes, but she will do it her way!
7. Randomness. Toddlers are the masters of random. It is not unusual for us to be treated to spontaneous bursts of nursery rhymes, 'Allah Allah' (anything religious like Surahs/Duas, in Baby Girl's own special language) and some very funny statements.
These incidents make great Facebook statuses, and more than make up for the exhaustion that seems to accompany parenthood. I'm going to make a scrapbook of all the statuses I've ever uploaded about my kiddos. One day. Soon. InshaAllah.
8. Best friends. There is something magical about the second year of your child's life. They are eager to use their burgeoning communication skills yet often need a translator (aka Mommy) to get their message across to the world.
This tight bond that the two of you share - the mutual knowledge that you will always know what they mean, regardless of their ability to express it, is precious beyond measure.
For now, you two are the best of friends. May this friendship last forevermore. Amen.
9. Baby weight. If you're still carrying extra weight two years postpartum, its probably your baby's fault. I mean, hey, someone has to finish off all those leftovers! I hate wasting food, and those toddler-sized leftovers seem harmless enough...until you end up eating an extra half meal at every meal.
10. Tete-a-tete. Conversation between a mother and a child is sacred. No one should interrupt just because THEY don't understand what the child is saying. If we don't listen to them when they're young, they won't talk to us when they're older.
11. Sleepy time. Naptimes and the hours after bedtime have a strangely ethereal quality to them - its a kind of peacefulness that comes with the certainty that the little one is safely ensconced in a room, without you having to supervise their 'explorations' and 'inspections' of everything. Needless to say, anyone who dares disturb the peace of the parents....I mean, the valuable sleep of a child...is not viewed with friendly eyes.
12. Are you a perfectionist...or a slacker? I'm a slacker. There, I said it. And I had to make a conscious effort to become one. Being a perfectionist by nature, it was easy to fall into a pattern of constant criticism, complaints and condemnation. This was ruining the general atmosphere of the home and I realized we were getting sucked into a vicious cycle of negativity, all because of me. Because I was unable to let go of the little things and focus on the bigger picture. And so began the long and ardous journey of trying to maintain a positive demeanor - or, at the very least, a civil one, during trying times.
13. Keep calm and carry on. This is an important one for me. When I'm hungry/tired/rundown for any reason, I find I'm unable to handle even the slightest of stressful situations. With a toddler, this means that the little crises quickly escalate into big ones, which take that much more effort to deal with.
Solution: remain level-headed in every situation. Remember, YOU'RE the mature person, not your little one.
14. Grossed-out. NOT. You will reach a whole new level of grossness-handling ability. Recently hubby and I went out for dinner with our nearly 2 year old. She took a good sized bite of chicken, chewed it up, spit it out into her hand to inspect it, and put it back into her mouth. Then ate it. I didn't even bat an eyelid. Hey, if it didn't touch anything but her hand, its fair game. It came out of her own mouth, after all. (See what I mean?)
There are more - oh so many more that I meant to write but I was simply too busy/exhausted to actually write when inspiration struck. But this one is for sure - the LOVE - the completely overwhelming and all-encompassing LOVE for your child - that never reduces. And you think, how will I ever love anyone else with all this love for my baby overflowing from my heart? But miraculously, when He blesses you with another little person, He doubles the capacity in your heart as well. Subhanallah. (As I type this, we await the arrival of Baby Girl no.2. But the love is already present. I haven't met my precious angel yet, but already I love her beyond expression.)
Do you have any Motherhood Lessons to share? If you do, I'd love to hear them!
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