When I was pregnant with Harper, I said that I would never, ever let her sleep in our bed. . . until she could only sleep when being held, so I propped myself up, took the pillows & covers off the bed, and slept all night sitting straight up holding her.
When Harper was born, I said I'd never give her a pacifier. . .until we tried it one especially awful night and she loved it.
I said I'd never give her formula. . . until, at 10 months, I had to.
I said we'd get rid of the bottle at one year. . . until it took 18 months.
I could do this all day.
Even at this early juncture in parenthood, I'm well aware that there's a 50% chance that any judgemental stance I take on my parenting or someone else's will end up being wrong. Just.. wrong and stupid.
My point is, I am, by no means whatsoever, attesting to be a perfect parent.
In fact, sometimes I suck at it. Like this morning when I lured Harper out of the house on the pretext that she'd get a vanilla milk from Starbucks. . . . then I forgot to order it.
What I'll never do? Forget what it's like to have a 22 month old. Forget what they're like. Forget what it's like to be their parent. It is an honor and a privilege, and a bit like dismantling bombs for a living.
While we were in Florida, we ventured to the pool on our second day there. Armed with a floating apparatus and good weather, we slipped into the water amid best-day-ever squeals of delight from Harper. For an hour, we had the beautiful pool to ourselves. We kicked, we stuck our faces in, we snuffed water up our noses, we splashed.
Then, as we were making one of many trips back to the shallow end (by this time, floating apparatus had been abandoned in favor of more independence. . .which left me wrestling an alligator who can't swim), I breathed a sigh of relief as I heard other happy squeals. New kids to play with!
A four year old little girl and her 18 month old brother made quick work of introducing themselves. The mom was nice and engaged. What fun! We swapped stories as the kids giggled and jumped.
The four year old gave Harper a sand pail and shovel to play with, which she gripped with intensity and what became the sole object of her focus. Dude. If I had known she'd want something like that at the pool, I coulda brought one myself, and I would have!
Because five minutes later, when the four year old wanted her toys back, I knew we were in for it. I secretly prayed that the other mom would intervene. ..That she would say, "Darling four year old child with whom I can reason, you gave an atomic bomb of a toddler your sand pail and shovel, so it would be best that you let her keep it awhile longer. Let's wait this one out. Play with your other 25 toys we brought to the pool. I speak from experience. Let's not poke this bear, darling."
But did she? No.
So when the child asked for her toys, I had no choice but to pry them from Harper's chubby little hands and blubber something to Harper about "learning to share," when clearly, she's far too young to understand the concept. I had to pretend that this was a valuable lesson.
For the longest 5 minutes ever, I tried everything to distract Harper, but she was woebegone beyond repair and, at this point, crying so uncontrollably to the annoyance of everyone, that we had to leave the pool.
After I embarrassingly hauled the saddest and loudest toddler in the world out of the pool and across the pool deck to gather our one million belongings to go up to our room while Harper kicked and hollered "Poow (Pool), sovul (shovel)!" between unadulterated sobs, I heard the mom half-heartedly say from the deep end, "Oh, we can share. I didn't know she wanted it so much."
In the coven of judgement and understanding that is motherhood, I will never, ever, ever let that happen. Not to a baby. Not to a mom. Never ever.