I love Lydia. She is my daughter and as soon as I could get a good look at her after she was born (and after I stopped puking), I was smitten. This being said, motherhood has not been all bliss. In fact, it mostly has really sucked. For the first year or so, she was basically in a constant bad mood. Shane would say it gently. "We really don't have the most pleasant baby do we?" No. We didn't. Constantly crying or screaming, hating to be put down, but never wanting to be close. Her 30 minute nap left me no time to do anything. No one seemed to believe me how hard she was, until of course they came to visit. I became a total clock watcher, counting the moments until Shane walked through the door and I could get a moment of peace.
Sweet tender moments made things bearable. Barely. Sometimes she would be happy for a few hours. Occasionally she would even occupy herself for 10 minutes or so. Every moment free I was devouring child care books, looking for answers. I vowed that if I read one more piece of advice telling me to just stay calm and have patience, I would stop reading all together. Where were the ANSWERS????!!!! My pediatrician was stumped and finally prescribed a sleep aid. This eventually helped with the sleeping, but the constant fussiness persisted.
When she was about 18 months old I started to get scared on many levels. First of all, I wondered if I was going to have a miserable child. I thought of raising a daughter who was almost always in a bad mood, with brief moments of pleasantness. Secondly, I started to worry about my sanity. I could feel myself slipping. The insomnia was not helping. Walking up every morning and thinking of the next 13 hours I had to spend with Lydia was agony. To say I was a mess was an understatement. Shane and I both were just trying to hang on.
Around that time I mentioned to Shane that if we wanted to have our second baby 2 1/2 years after Lydia was born (As had been the original plan) we would have to start trying to get pregnant. He looked at me with absolute horror. "Natalie. We are not ready. I don't know if we will ever be ready. " I totally agreed. We would look at Lydia's baby photos and Shane would tell me "We really need to save some of the photos of what she is really like. These are all of her smiling."
Fast forward a few months to present. I am listening to Shane and Lydia playing upstairs. Our house is filled with giggles and hugs. Something happened to our little girl and I am not sure just when it occurred, but I think it was around Christmas. Lydia is an utter joy. I love that her favorite song is "Motorcycle Drive By" by Third Eye Blind. She waits in eager anticipation for the chorus and her chance to "rock out". She plays games with us and reads us stories. When she wants our attention, she bowes her head and starts to pray, because she knows that we will stop whatever we are doing and bow our heads with her. (She prays for Grandma and Papa and her best friend LuLu the bunny.) She screams in delight when we chase her and if I am busy doing something, she simply says "Mommy, come in and sit down on floor".
Most mornings I wake up to her calling "Daddy. Daaaaaaadeeeeeee." When I get her she looks disappointed, then resigns herself that it is just me this time and proclaims "Tea Set". So we sit down with her stuffed animals for a little morning tea.
Yesterday we were out to lunch together and she was excited that I got her a hamburger and fries. She stood up on the booth and shook her bottom as she sang a song of glee to the rest of the restaurant. I laughed and just enjoyed my little bitty friend.
I am not saying that everything is suddenly easy. I just think that this is what it is supposed to be like. She is definitely in her "twos" with temper tantrums and bad days. But when the rest of the time she is happy, the bad times are manageable. When I look towards my future, it isn't a black abyss I face, but the excitement of watching my child(ren) learn and grow. I still watch the clock sometimes, but usually it is just because I miss Shane. I am finally getting to know my little girl, and she is breathtaking.