By the time my third child was born, I thought I had this parenthood thing pretty much in the bag.
Learning to function on 4 hours’ sleep? Check.
Colic? Been there, done that.
And tending to a demanding toddler while at the same time nursing a newborn? Not a problem.
I thought that when my daughter joined our family, I’d earned my gold star in motherhood and that it would be smooth sailing from then on. Oh, how little I knew.
The truth is, my daughter was an “easy” baby (as much as I hate that term, because what does that say about the other kinds of babies?). By 3 months old she was sleeping through the night in her own room. Breastfeeding her was a breeze. She went with the flow and was easy to comfort, unlike her older brothers.
Life was good and things really were smooth sailing until she was about one year old. That’s when she realized that she had an opinion.
Suddenly at one my daughter became the captain of her ship. The queen of her universe. The president of her personal board of directors. She didn’t take kindly when pesky people (i.e. her parents) interfered. Even though she wasn’t talking yet, she knew how to express herself. And boy did she ever.
What toys to play with. What to eat. Which shoes to wear. But mostly she as adamant about her sippy cup. It had to be the pink princess one from Disney Baby.
Not the blue one, mind you. The pink one. Because, well, obviously, Mama.
When it comes to motherhood, you have to decide which battles are worth fighting and which to let slide. And while I’m not willing to let my toddler dictate which foods she eats and when her bedtime is, I’m flexible about letting her choose the one sippy cup she’ll drink from.
What can I say? She’s hopelessly devoted to those princesses. And I’m hopelessly devoted to her.
Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. In addition, she writes about parenting at Babble’s Kid Scoop. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.