Monday, February 22, 2016

Parenthood: Week 140 - I Will

I just changed my tune and no one seems to notice, but you will.
I love being a parent, but I don’t love everything about being a parent. There are days filled with tantrums, crying and stress. Then there are days when parenting feels wonderful, when the world you share with your child is all that you need. Last Tuesday was one of those days. 
And the first thing on my mind when I arise.
My school has mid-winter break, a week off in the middle of February. Leading up to this week, Diana and I had been talking a lot about potty training. We both agreed that we wanted to jump off the deep end and do a series of days of intensive potty training to really help get Ollie going.

Saturday before my week off, we went to a toddler Valentines Day party. A couple parents there had done the intensive potty training thing and they all explained that it really wasn’t that bad. With Diana taking the lead and our friends encouragement we went for it. I wrote this blog post about day two of potty training. Diana and I were both home, it went well. The next I faced a day of potty training by myself.

I know it don't come easy but I love you, I do.
Usually when I spend time with Ollie alone it’s just for half the day, not the whole day. More often than not, I will take Ollie somewhere like the library or the grocery store. Often during that time I try to get stuff done around the house, like cook dinner or do the laundry. The nature of potty training meant that I really had to pay attention to Ollie so I resolved not to do any chores, not to check my phone and to give my full attention to Ollie the entire day.

Ollie got up in the morning, I got him on his potty, he went, we celebrated, and the day was on. I made him some oatmeal for breakfast, and let him scoop out the oatmeal and stir in the brown sugar. Whenever we make oatmeal I let him stick his finger in the brown sugar jar to get a taste. This time Ollie tried to stick his whole fist in the sugar, but I caught him trying, he giggled and happily licked his finger. I cooked myself a fried egg and rice (a traditional Chinese breakfast), and Ollie asked for me to hold him while I ate. This is something that Ollie often asks Diana to do, which can annoyingly get in the way of eating. I didn't mind as Ollie had never asked me to do this before.

I can try and I won't find it where I'm looking.
Throughout the day, we did activities together. When he colored with crayons, so did I. We built some block towers together, worked on arts projects, read books together, watched a little television and danced. Throughout all of this, I made Ollie regularly sit on the potty and he made good progress getting more comfortable using the potty.

There were a couple moments when Ollie got frustrated but overall he was in a good mood. Then about halfway through the day it hit me. The entire morning Ollie had my undivided attention. Even when were playing in parallel, he still felt my presence focusing on him.

I will do the right thing I will.
I wonder how many times when Ollie is frustrated if he is simply fighting for my attention. Ollie has to learn how to not having my attention all of the time, that’s part of growing up, but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be moments when he can have all of my attention.

When you focus all of your attention on your child, it’s amazing what you realize. Ollie is growing up so fast. His vocabulary is amazing, he’s creative, and funny and he asks great questions. More than anything else, Ollie just wanted to do things with me. There was something so beautifully simple about what made him happy.

I'm sure that you want me to learn from you.
When I woke him up and made him go to his potty, I promised that he could go back in the crib when he was done. After he did his business, I put him back into his crib and he curled up around his pillow. "Ollie, do you want to hear some music?" "Yes," he replied. I scrolled through my iPad looking for something calm and came to "I Will" by Brandi Carlile. When the song was done, Ollie asked me to play it again. After the third time through, I put it on repeat.

Ollie asked me to come into his crib, so I climbed in. For almost half an hour Ollie giggled and cuddled up against me as we listened to Brandi Carlisle's voice soar through mountains and valleys of melody over and over again.  As Ollie rested his head against my chest, I whispered along with Carlile's singing into Ollie’s ear, with a prayer in my breath and a promise in my voice: 

I have to say that I'm proud to know you 
And I'll never ben the same because we met.

You might not miss this

I will, I will I will. 

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