I often have thoughts of my firstborn with sighs and wistful glances and ooey gooey feelings, where tears spring to my eyes when I think of how fast he's growing up. I think of how often, when he was a baby, I would just sit and watch him, similar to this article Ree Drummond wrote a while back about her firstborn.
And I think about now, when I have another little one to watch, and so many things vying for my attention, and distractions coming out the whazoo. And sometimes I don't like my interactions with him.
I am easily put-out, irritated and frustrated.
I read this article and shouted to the rooftops!
YES! I am not alone. And I am not a terrible parent. I am an actual parent with limits.
So when Xander tells me about the imaginary soccer game going on in his head for the 8,346th time OR he quotes his favorite lines from a show over and over and over OR he sings that blasted theme song again OR he whines about having to go outside OR he argues incessantly about the most trivial things...
I now feel the freedom to go to the other room. Or lock myself in the bathroom. Or simply ask him to tell me about it later because right now Mommy has no more patience and needs a moment of quiet.
I came across this article the other day. The title felt a bit harsh for my purposes (but honest, nonetheless). It's titled "Sometimes I don't Like My Child."
I mean, if I were honest? Sometimes I don't. I absolutely love my children - to the moon and back - but there are times when they are not likeable. There were some fantastic tips and opportunities for introspection in that article. If you have kids, take a look at it. Even if you always like your kids. :)
Here's an article I read about raising the older child.
These words captured my attention and formed a lump in my throat:
"Our precious first baby, the one we make the most mistakes with, we worry the most over, and set the most restrictions and expectations on. When they are born we look into their eyes and make plans to raise the perfect child. We see ourselves reflected in their actions, their words and their achievements. We are so proud of their first steps, first words, first everything. They are the bearers of all our plans, hopes and dreams and the result is an overachiever that aims to please."
My boy is 5 years old, but that is him. He is an overachiever that aims to please. That can serve him well, but can also get us all into a lot of trouble. I expect so much from him!
It is true, as the older child, that he gets the harder Mommy. He gets the high-expectation Mommy. He gets the "how many times do I have to tell you" Mommy.
However, these words from that same article made my heart smile:
"It isn't easy to be the oldest, middle or youngest, each birth order has their own issues to deal with. As long as you parent with love, understanding and compassion you will never go wrong. Take time with your child, listen to them, teach them and most of all live as an example to them."
And hey, maybe one day he'll be an astronaut. ;)