The last thing I saw before I fell asleep last night was Adriana sleeping beside me. I closed my eyes and listened to her breathe, and promised myself that today I would do better.
Nothing particularly bad happened yesterday. Adriana was her normal toddler self, alternating between being a charming, happy little girl and a stubborn, willful child. As I write that the juxtaposition of those two things seems wrong: can't she be charming and willful, happy and stubborn at the same time? Anyhow, she had her normal ups and downs, but there are some days when coping with the downs is somehow beyond me. For much of the day I was impatient, telling her "no" without explanation, carrying her when she wanted to walk because I was in a hurry, offering distractions instead of getting down on the floor and playing with her myself or encouraging her to help with what I'm doing. She threw tantrums and my headache grew, and neither of us had much fun. She asked to nurse more often than usual, and I think that was good. It forced me to stop what I was doing, take the time to really focus on her, to just snuggle with her in the armchair.
As I tried to relax into sleep, I felt guilty. I know I'm not going to be a perfect mother, and that I don't need to be. Toddlers are adorable and fascinating, but they are also energetic and demanding and challenging, and I do not have an endless well of patience. That is okay. But lying there in bed in seemed so obvious to me that I could do better, so I reached over and stroked her hand with one finger and promised her silently that I would.