The only constant truth about parenting is that it never works out the way you expect it to so just as you think you have it sussed, the next stage starts and the 'fumbling around in the dark' bit starts all over again. This for me is the one aspect of it which makes it equally the most rewarding and humbling experience of my life.
Nothing about being a parent is as I expected it to be. I guess that we all have an idea of the type of parent that we aspire to be but this image is so much clearer before the reality of being one clouds the view. I have discovered that there are fundamental parts of my personality which have changed and which have had a positive, if bewildering affect on me as an individual.
In my pre-children years I was very spontaneous and my idea of routine was to not have one and to reinvent myself over and over. I loved to move, to change my hair and my style as often as I wanted but when I think back to those days now they're alien to me and I can't figure out how (or if) I was ever fulfilled.
Perhaps the truth is that routine is the corner stone for the bewildered parent, it is the foundation that substitutes for the lost family circle because it brings familiarity and comfort. The problem is that with children, especially when they're young the routine has to grow and change to accommodate their development and for the bewildered parent this brings unfamiliar territory.
I love the routine that we have built for the boys. We're not hugely strict about most things but we're pretty vigilant about when they eat, nap and especially when they go to bed. Built into this daily routine is all the little things which have evolved either through desire or necessity but all of them at some point face the prospect of ending. We are going through one of those transitions at the moment and I am having to face my personal shortcomings through the process.
I appealed for some advice about potty training twins a while back and a very good friend sent me some excellent advice. We tried but ultimately it was our childminder who really instigated the change and we're following her lead. The problem is that I find frustration and impatience bubbling up and over far more than I am comfortable with as we struggle to balance fair consistency with the practical issues which inevitably come up.
I really wish that I was more patient and more consistent but honestly I am just doing whatever is necessary to get to through this stage to the brief island of calm before the next stage kicks in.
Eish! The toddler years are so tiring!