100 days: the good, the bad, the poop in the park
You haven't lived if you haven't panicked over a public defecation.
In the fall of 2021, I attempted 100 days of journaling daily about things I did or felt with my toddler who was about to get a sibling. I'm sharing my entries in digest form. This is days 3-10.
It’s a bit insane to be revisiting this, especially since I started a new 100 day project this year and so far - at the time of this writing, on day 2 lol - am doing great! More on that later. It just feels wild to get a glimpse backwards at past Sara. I feel for her. She was struggling. But she had tools and she used them, mostly. In the comments I want to hear about your favorite tools for dealing with all the bullshit! See you at the end.
Today Steven had a really early meeting so I was in charge almost right away which doesn’t usually happen and I’m not really used to it. But it was a known thing and as we know, I like to be prepared for these types of circumstances. I love that he loves to watch tv a little in bed when he gets up (sometimes) because it lets me have that lazy not-sleeping-but-not-awake-yet time that I treasure. I’m also loving our drive-to-school tradition of listening to only the Beatles! He now asks me for more Beatles and I’m so pleased and also proud. Here’s hoping it continues.
The drive to school is pretty fun and I’m sorta shocked that I like it? I have to actively calm myself down once we get in the car because it’s usually sort of a rushed final few minutes to get out the door and I can feel myself getting frantic when we have always left on time and been on time. And even if we aren’t, it’s ok, right? Charlie is a good companion for this because I can’t curse or be too frustrated in front of him on the car ride because if HE was frustrated, I’d sort of talk him down and remind him that sometimes things happen and we can’t control it all. Ain’t that the truth! Deep breath for Sara, deep breath for Charlie.
Today really sucked for me, in mind and body. I didn’t do much helpful parenting but eventually I decided to walk Charlie down to the park to give Steven a break even for a little bit. C had so much energy and was ripe for running and playing. We get to the park and he just wants to sit next to me on a bench and doesn’t seem into playing. At some point he wandered away to play, and then I see him in the pine needle bed. Pushing his pants down. And I freak out. He’s peeing, and by the time I run over there, he’s also pooping a little. While standing! Beside the fenced toddler area! Where there is another kid playing!
do you lol at poop stories?? there’s more where that came from!
Hungover from the park pooping incident yesterday but glad that [our nanny] is back to help us out. Charlie was in A MOOD today and it’s so funny to think about toddlers in a mood, but they totally have off days just like grown-ups and acknowledging this is probably the hardest part of dealing with their moods.
We had the bedtime from hell tonight. Probably the worst, most drawn-out, dramatic, bedtime issue potentially of his entire life? Certainly since getting rid of his pacifiers. AND to top the night off, the pizza we ordered didn’t show up for 3 hours. So we’re dealing with screaming and irrational Charlie while starving and irrational ourselves. Not the best day for Sara and Charlie (or Steven either). The last time I went into his room, I told him that tomorrow was a new day and asked him to say it too. “A new day,” he said. We reminded each other, and then he finally went to sleep and I had frozen mozzarella sticks for dinner. Glad that tomorrow IS a new day.
WELL today’s new day started not so great. I got out of bed at 8:20 for an 8:26 preschool departure time. Luckily, his lunch was already made because Past Sara is thinking more often of Future Sara, which is nice for us both. Charlie was quiet on the ride to school today and so was I. Usually we chatter a bit, but today we both listened quietly to the Beatles playlist which is a tradition I am loving a lot. Today’s kind of day are the days that sort of give me a glimpse into my more distant future. Dropping kid at school, rushing around to gather materials and extra underpants. Figuring out what to do with the limited time I have before going to pick him up again. I can’t think too hard about it or I’ll sit around doing nothing. Can’t think too hard about him growing fast or I’ll cry. But also? I love that he’s growing. It’s what he’s supposed to do. And I AM enjoying the process. And it’s nice to take a moment to feel that.
Completely forgot to do anything creative yesterday including this. That’s the funny thing about doing a creative project centered around being a mother and dealing with me and my kid. I don’t have mental space for it even though it’s a helpful thing and probably a thing I need more than a lot of the OTHER things.
Anyway. Our preschool drop-off journey is starting to be precious. He is now asking for Beatles music which makes me want to announce to the world that I am winning at parenthood. And after dropping him off I had some intense nesting urges (apparently) and reorganized our mud room and my closet, plus cleaned the kitchen. By the time I went to get him, I was ready for both of us to nap and so naturally he decided NOT to nap today. So today was our first “quiet time” day where he stayed in his room for the 1.5 hours he would normally sleep. It was…nice. And funny. And weird in my head. Like, he’s not sleepy, so I should go in and play, or DO something, right? I forced myself to leave him and it was a fantastic decision. I didn’t nap but I did rest and listen to him sing peter pan over the baby monitor. And isn’t that special.
In-laws came over last night and ended up taking Charlie to their house for the night - and also tonight. The nights he isn’t here, all I think about is how he’s sleeping and if I should have called more and if he’s sad or if he’s eating junk. The answers are always: he’s sleeping fine, no I shouldn’t have, no he’s not, and yes he is and I should let it go. It’s so relaxing AND …and. And I miss him when he’s not here.
I have had the best work day too. Slept in until like 830 but actually SLEPT the entire time, stayed in bed lounging until almost 10, and then have been working and cooking and cleaning and in general so productive. It’s so freeing to be able to just DO TASKS but have no kid-pickup deadline looming, making the day feel cramped or rushed or whatever.
It just feels so necessary to have these days away from him. Maybe not everyone agrees or feels this way but I can almost FEEL my soul cup being filled back up when I can be JUST ME again with no looming restrictions right around the corner. Seeing him tomorrow when we pick him up is going to be perfect, but NOT having to parent or be in charge or prepare anything or do that part of my life is liberating and I feel glad and happy today and I need to write this so that future me can remember: it doesn’t have to happen weekly but it does need to happen because what’s good for me is good for him.
Super lazy morning without Charlie here. Nice visit with my in-laws for a couple of birthdays and got to see Charlie play with his cousin. The funny thing about big gatherings is that he interacts with me basically zero unless I’m correcting a behavior or getting him to wash his hands or something. Can’t decide how I feel about this, and I guess I feel differently about it depending on the day.
One thing I did realize this time is that the noise of children playing gives me anxiety - but more specifically the noise combined with my nerves about what Charlie is doing or will do and any subsequent outside judgement - THAT’S what brings the anxiety. All of which is bullshit but unavoidable. There’s lots of triggering comments combined with behavior that I wonder or suspect others don’t appreciate. But also triggering is the fact that a lot of times I feel trapped in these moments where saying something to Charlie would be a slight or somehow offensive to someone else in the room. I’m told frequently that there’s “nothing I can do about it,” when I see things being done or hear things being said to him that I’d rather not have happen and I guess it’s irksome - at the very least - that I have to sit in this discomfort, feel judged, nervous, anxious, and also powerless to improve a situation that truly is “fine” for Charlie.
I always ask myself: is this the hill I want to die on? And usually the answer is no. But…what if they’re all small hills? And I stand up on none of them, and sacrifice myself on none of them aka let everything slide? Then what?
Charlie is in a newish phase where he resists his nap, straight up doesn’t take one, or is on the way to dropping it. Per my parenting journey, I don’t know which one it is, and daily differences don’t help me figure it out.
Today Steven did the routine and after 30ish minutes of Charlie singing and playing, I went up to try again. He was laying on the floor and being calmer so I wanted to see if I could get him to sleep. I was successful but only because I rocked him - which isn’t ideal but also isn’t the end of the world, I remind myself. When he woke up, he was inconsolable and couldn’t say what was upsetting him. These are the toddler moments that I really struggle with. He’s so irrational and I’M also so irrational a lot lol so the two of us together being irrational makes for a hard time problem solving. Eventually he came over to me and just laid his head on my shoulder and it was a pretty sweet if still frustrating moment. He knew we were there for him and we just sat there until he was calm enough to say yes or no to all the questions and options we were offering.
I don’t know what the point of this is except today hasn’t been great for me mentally but somehow getting over his upset and working through it with him - the during was awful but the after felt satisfying. Now I just have to try not to sit in dread for the next thing, transition, issue, tantrum, trigger. In a world where anything could trigger anything…it’s hard to feel good about the days sometimes.
Wow. It’s really something to go back and read these, from the great beyond of the future. I still get really overwhelmed and anxious but it’s encouraging? Heartening. To see my growth. This is why I journal - a huge reason, anyway. Because it’s so easy to SEE change and growth when it’s quantified like this, I can read what was happening, how I reacted and compare it to present Sara and see like, yeah, bitch actually is growing. Therapy IS working. Life is BEING LIVED and everything is ok.
I hope the same for all of you. I hope sharing this is doing something for someone other than me. I think sharing this kind of shit probably feels a bit self-gratifying, and maybe it is, but ALSO. I’ve gone looking for certain kinds of comfort and have found exactly what I needed in some very vulnerable places in other people’s lives that they chose to share. Seems only fair that I participate in what I find helpful.
What do YOU find helpful? Share in the comments + let’s make a giant list.
Cheers. Only 50ish days to go LOL. Bye!