There's a reason I haven't been blogging much lately. Her name is Rowan Eleanor Pearson. My daughter is at that age when kids are both crazy-cute and just plain crazy. The same child who runs away from me in a busy parking lot (heart attack) will cling to me and wail when I drop her off at the church nursery (heartbreak). She empties drawers. She hides my makeup in my husband's shoes. She throws food on the floor. She knocks over folded piles of laundry, pushes big plastic toys down the stairs, and gets howling mad when I try to fasten the clasps on her stroller—and then gets even madder when she can't figure out how to do it herself. You'd think that, after surviving the toddlerhood of my three boys, I'd be able to handle this phase with aplomb, delighting in every move my last little one makes. The truth is, I've mumbled, "I'm so over this," more than I care to admit—usually when I'm wiping strawberry yogurt off the walls or taping together pages of an Elin Hilderbrand paperback that Rowan's sweet fingers have torn to shreds.
Rowan makes us laugh every day. My heart melts when she gives her brothers kisses and hugs. I'm so very thankful for her. But this child has me running ragged. And that's coming from someone who has it easy with a true partner in my husband, friends who will take her for the day when I'm in a work bind, and a network of moms who empathize and give me perspective (including those who tell me, "You think this is hard? Wait till she's a teenager!"). I'm in awe of mothers who make it through the toddler phase without getting a break, much less feeling supported and encouraged. What strength!
Friends who have climbed out of the toddler trenches have told me, "It's all a blur," which makes me sort of sad. Haven't we earned crystal-clear memories of this stage that will help us forever marvel, "How did I do it?" Yes, I look forward to the day when I'll be able to dry my hair (or check email, or make dinner, or go to the bathroom) without a tiny person trying to scale my leg. But I also know for a fact that in 30 years I'll say to my grown, mother-of-a-toddler daughter precisely what my mom now says to me: "Enjoy this time. Don't wish it away. I'd give anything to go back for just one day to when you were little and I was your world."
P.S. This photo of Rowan is another Picnik creation. See that post here.