- The cleaning can wait!
- Seize the day!
- You never know how many good days you’ll have together.
Have you ever heard one of these statements? I know that I have. I don’t disagree with any of them on the surface and quite honestly, with Laura’s condition, I think about the third one A LOT!
Here’s the thing though : I can not and will not spend every waking minute playing with Laura.
I CANNOT play with her all day because…
I AM NOT TWO! If Laura had it her way, I would play with her all day, every day. We would play with her Castle and build blocks and bounce on her trampoline and sing songs and read books and giggle and play all day. All of these things are fantastic and I love doing them but I just can’t do it all day. I am 27 years old and my brain just doesn’t work like hers does – I get bored of things quickly and I can’t function well doing the same repetitive things over and over for the entire 12 hours that she is awake.
I have food to make – SOOO much cooking is required for the type of diet that we follow. We have now added a very strict budget into the mix which means that not only do I spend a ton of time cooking, I now have to be very creative as well to keep costs down! What Laura can’t understand at two years old is that all that cooking that Mommy is doing is FOR HER! She is being fed real food that never saw the inside of a packaging machine and I am so glad for it – but it does take time to do!
I WILL NOT play with Laura all day for so many other reasons…
“The cleaning can wait.” True. No one is going to die if I don’t keep my house tidy – Laura is not going to catch pneumonia from some blocks and toys scattered on the floor or from dirty dishes in the sink which she can’t reach to lick (because let’s face it, if she could reach them, she would lick them).
But the thing is, the cleaning can’t wait because I. Hate. Mess. I like to keep the house clean and tidy because when the house is put together it helps me feel more put together. It’s not about keeping it clean for other people – that’s just not the point. When the house is clean and organized, I feel grounded. The truth is – the cleaning is for me and my sanity and I will be a better mother to Laura if I can keep up with the mess and keep myself in a head space conducive to the patience needed when spending all day with a 2 year old.
disclaimer: I am not saying that my house is always clean and tidy! I simply do my best to keep up throughout the day as much as possible and I try to have it fully cleaned and ready to go at the end of every night so that I can wake to a clean house.
This might be an unpopular thing to say but here it goes – catering to your child’s every need creates co-dependent children who can not function on their own in the world. Kids are showing up in schools who are unable to care for themselves, contribute to a group or even make creative decisions. I read this quote somewhere (I can’t remember where) that has really stuck with me:
Creativity comes from boredom.
It’s so true! When I leave Laura to go make supper or clean the house she DEFINITELY whines for a good 5 minutes BUT, when she realizes that I am not going to stop what I am doing to play with her, she finds her own way. She will make up her own games, draw a picture at the table, or find a cozy spot to read a book. It is GOOD for her to be bored – it will help her cope as she grows up. She will know how to occupy herself without the help of a screen or another person to entertain her.
I think often about the fact that Laura’s good days aren’t going to last forever but I try to live by the old saying:
Prepare for the worst, plan for the best.
We are aware of the fact that Laura may not remain healthy for her entire childhood. We have discussed what to do if she requires an extended hospital stay or if she has a health scare. That is NOT, however, where we choose to dwell. We will prepare for the worst case scenario but we must live our lives with the plan for the BEST case scenario. The scenario where Laura remains healthy for her entire childhood and is able to become an adult before undergoing another heart transplant.
If that is the case and she is completely fine and becomes an adult before getting sick again – we would be doing her a disservice by treating her as “other” while she is a child. She needs to learn responsibility and respect just like any other kid. She has to know that she will not get off easy just because she is sick. Laura is a regular kid with some differences – but what kid doesn’t have a difference of some kind?
We will always advocate for what Laura needs but she will not always get what she wants and that is okay.
So for now, I will enjoy both the moments I spend playing with Laura AND the time I spend caring for our household in other ways.. besides – there are very few things more adorable that looking over to see your 2 year old making her toy Maui figure ride one of her horses around her castle 😉