I want to start with the wonder of Christmas. It was a beautiful day and I was thankful to celebrate it while surrounded by my family. Hopefully I'll even come back to this. But for now, I want to digress.
I am really struggling with how to make sense of the different parenting styles that my sister and I have. She has a difficult time relaxing when my daughter is around. Peanut at almost 2 years old, is perceived by my sister as a constant threat to her 5 month old son (let's call him Buddy). As soon as Peanut sees a toy that she would like, she wants to grab it away from Buddy. The grabbing is a recent development. With our friends in our parenting support group, the other children are close in age to Peanut and fortunately we all see more or less eye to eye about sharing and how to encourage the kids to share (esp. as they're all at an age where they need to do this).
With my sister, she can't stand to surrender one of Buddy's toys or books for even a moment (something I might do to keep another kid happy). I can respect this, but I'd rather she use a firm, "No" or "It's Buddy's turn, you have to wait for your turn." This is the language we use regularly with Peanut. Instead, I went upstairs for a few moments the other day and heard her yell, quite sharply at Peanut saying, "NO Peanut, that's stealing!!". At first I had to laugh. How many 2 year olds understand the concept of stealing and thievery?? And then I was just frustrated. Because my sister is pretty high-strung. Because she can't seem to accept that Peanut is doing what toddlers do. Because although my sister, BIL and Buddy have only been here in my parents' house since the morning of the 24th and I'm very happy for them to leave today (once upon a time I would have wished that my sister and BIL could stay another week).
Being a parent changes you. I understand that and I'm constantly grateful for the opportunity to be changed by it. I just can't help but wonder if my sister and I will ever see eye to eye again. I confess I'm amazed at how much I see my life through this lens of motherhood in ways that I didn't anticipate. I didn't think it would change my relationship with my sister but it has. Once upon a time I felt that she'd be best guardian for my daughter; now I know that I couldn't live with that decision. I always knew that our outlooks on life are different, but I thought for sure that I could live with that and I could handle knowing that she was parenting Peanut. But there's no way that I could do that now. My sister has her hands full with her own son. And she's a high-strung, anxious person - to a degree that I hadn't really seen until she was also a mom.
Becoming a mom - being a mom can change so much.