Why Breaking All the Rules is Best for the Moment

While I’ve become accustomed to my weekend ritual of writing about a Mama Maker or Mama Shaker during nap time, this was one of those weekends where life had other plans — in the best way possible.

Life with our 2.5 year old is giving us the full colors of the rainbow. One minute he’s falling into a puddle of tears and resistance, the next he’s all hugs and I love you’s. It is both the hardest time and the most wonderful time, all in one.

I started the weekend with full determination to psych myself up for potty training. But after reading one book that felt like too much pressure, and another that felt just right, we carved out our own little rhythm.

After a little bit of potty talk over coffee and lego videos, we continued on with our Saturday morning music class, complete with full drum set encore, and walk to the grocery store afterwards. Inside, the ordinary became the extraordinary in the eyes of my fire truck-loving toddler.

We spotted three “real life firefighters” who my son admired from a couple of feet away. They pointed out that his yellow rain boots were the same color as their truck outside, and he lit up with anticipation. Afterwards, one of the firefighters chased after us to hand my son a sticker. Day officially made.

The rest of the day consisted of mutual naps, lots of potty “reminders,” bribery, and hovering near tile and hardwood. My germaphobe self had to confront the realities of a very natural thing in the eyes of a curious toddler. We put in a few good hours of practice, and then ultimately gave ourselves “the night off,” breaking all the rules of potty training books.

Dinner out as the three of us felt extra special, even though it ran a lot later than we intended. Seeing your toddler through the eyes of admiring strangers saying how well behaved he is definitely made us feel like there’s light at the end of this very tiring tunnel.

Mac & cheese, french fries and cheeseburgers never tasted so good after 8 p.m. We were treated to our own live performance on the ride home, as my son sang B-I-N-G-O and Itsy Bitsy Spider at an hour that would normally be reserved for bedtime.

My third trimester’s sleep was not surprisingly interrupted and I lay awake thinking about the logistics of the road ahead with our new baby. It feels like his older brother is well aware of his impending independence by putting on his own pants for the first time or climbing up on a step stool to help himself to a banana.

Our little firecracker continued on with his showering of affection and big boy behavior at my parents’ house, and told us all how he loved us over his second or third peanut butter and jelly sandwich of the day.

I felt pampered myself by resting my growing belly while listening to inspiring sound bites from a future Mama Shaker, getting a surprise Facetime call from my college besties and their babies, followed by a sunny patio visit with two of my longest-running local girlfriends.

The weekend wrapped with a quick walk with my overly fluffy labradoodle in pre-sunset light, more hugs from my energetic toddler for myself and the baby, and a cobbling together of dinner amidst the chaos of a very messy house. Knowing full well that tomorrow morning I will get back on the train, and have a moment of working mama independence, I wanted to soak up all that life.

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