Monday, December 17, 2007

Out the Window

I recently asked my mom--who is one of the most patient, laid-back, slow-to-get-riled people I know--if she ever, ever felt like tossing me out the window when I was a kid. "Oh, many times," she cheerfully replied. It made me feel so much better.

For all her precociousness and cuteness, Raine can sure be one annoying baby. And if my near-saintly mom felt like tossing me--and according to my mom, I was "such a good kid" (I didn't say that!)--then I guess it's normal for me to feel that too. Well, given my impatience and low threshold for irritants, I may indulge in window throwing fantasies more often.

My fear is that I am raising exactly the kind of kid that I don't like: the whiny brat. Raine isn't a high-maintenance baby; she's very sweet and happy--if she gets her way. She wants to be carried when I'm cooking or washing the dishes. She likes to poke and touch and hold and fling and eat whatever I'm holding. And when she doesn't get to, she whines and whines and whines. Of course saying "no" to her elicits that trembling-lower-lip face, and sometimes wails worthy of Bantay Bata.

People tell me that this is normal, since babies can't quite communicate what they want, need or feel yet. But as her mom who is with her 24/7, I feel that I should be able to decipher her baby ramblings by now. I suppose I can tell what she's trying to say, it's just that sometimes I'm busy or too exhausted to really act on it. Most of the time her whining means, "Play with me, Mommy. Play with me now." Or she wants to go out and see Chloe, the grumpy old dog, or the birds, or the fish or her favorite bamboo chimes hanging out in the back. And me, I just want to stay in the room and read with my feet up. How do you balance being Mommy, the all-around entertainment center, the housekeeper, the chef (I am elevating myself from cook) and being just plain Ree?

I love my daughter. Every day I look at her, I am amazed by the perfection of her toes and fingers, by the joy in her smile, by her happy disposition (I am even more amazed how two such grumpy people like The Hubby and me produced such a cheerful baby!). I watch her roll up to sitting position, I watch her zip and zoom around the living area in her walker (taking great care that she doesn't run over my toes), I watch her as she sleeps. I savor her warmth when she feeds, and when she snuggles up to me. My heart still melts every time she lays her head on my shoulder, or when her eyes light up when I walk into the room.

I love being Raine's Mommy. But sometimes frustration and annoyance, even anger, is normal. I guess what I should chuck out the window is my preconceived notions of motherhood (it's an everyday process). I am Raine's mom, not the Perfect Mom. And with God's grace, I can try to be the best mom for Raine. And I think that's the best thing we can do for our kids.

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