One of Dude's friends recently told him that for the past several months, every time he (Dude) starts a conversation with anyone, he always says, "I'm sorry, I've had a crazy day."
We've had a lot of crazy days, I guess! 2008 was rough for us. March through July, my back was completely out and I couldn't care for myself and the baby. Dude got a new job in April, and he started the same day we moved into an apartment. July ended with a nice case of hand foot and mouth disease for the Bee. In August and September, I was feeling really under the weather and we're still not sure why. October started with my birthday and a fabulous trip to the Dominican Republic which was quickly followed by Dude being laid off and us having to move out of our apartment and in with my parents. This took up November and December as well, which were also full of "What are we going to do with our lives?" type stress and a job hunt.
2009 is starting out marginally better, with a fantastic job offer for the Dude at a company he is really enjoying so far. Also, he found us a super awesome (rental) house that we will start moving into next month. We are currently doing the long-distance relationship, with him at his parents' house working while I am here at my parents' house 250 miles away, managing the toddler. (My parents' house is just a better set-up for me and the Bee.)
This part is definitely a suck-fest. My mother is away, so it is just me and my father, and he usually leaves for work before we get up and comes home soon before bedtime. Bee is super clingy in the evenings, so I pretty much never get a break from her.
However, the nice thing is that there are good things on the horizon. I have lots of things to look forward to. So while the days can be long and frustrating, filled with tantrums and "no" and sobs about "DAAAAADAAAAAAAAAA" (oh how she misses him), I am so grateful for all the wonderful things that are awaiting us. There is so much good coming. I just have to get there.
I feel like I've done a pretty good job during Bee's babyhood, especially considering all the setbacks we endured. But I worry for her toddlerhood. Having worked for several years in the baby room of a childcare center, I can tell you that once they hit that phase that they hit sometime between 12 and 18 months, I was ready to show them the door. Bye-bye, toddlers! Go up to the toddler room, and let's find a cuddly 3-month-old to take your spot. Bee is hitting that phase nicely right now, at 13 months. Running around, speaking her mind, and understanding the world in this new way. It's amazing, but it also puts us into the world of temper tantrums and wanting to do things her way RIGHTNOW, and I wonder what happened to that small creature I used to snap into the bouncy seat and watch drift off to AIR as I jiggled the seat with my foot and browsed the Internet.
No, this is definitely a far cry from that. High-energy parenting. And all the craziness of moving around and being away from Dude and dealing with emerging toddlerhood has taken a toll on my energy.
But there's something so rewarding about the way she throws her arms around my legs and said "Mama!" and makes her "hug noise." (She makes this little grunt whenever she hugs us. It's cute.) And she knows when to pour it on, too. Yesterday she was being such a little punk, and when I finally sighed her name in exasperation and told her I might sell her to the gypsies, she leaned in to my face, said "MMMM-WAH" with her lips pressed into my cheek, cuddled into my chest, and said "Hi, Mama." That's what I love about this phase versus bouncy-seat phase. She was so cute and fun then, but she interacts with me in such a different way now and I just love it.
So I guess I can keep handling these crazy days. There are good things on the horizon, and she knows how to help me keep going when I'm at my wit's end.
There is so much good coming. I JUST HAVE TO GET THERE.