Friday, January 02, 2009

Guilt the Good and Guilt the Bad

The grounding has done the girl wonders. After she got over the 'this is so unfair' misguided attempts at disputing her punishments, she got it. Kindness returned, remorse appeared, and Lo! Her brother learned his most powerful technique to date: Guilt.
Whenever he remembers his owie or accidentally leans back on his wound, he feels it with his hand and says, "No dockor! No like it! Abeah (his name for Supergirl), why you hurt me? Why you push me?"
Is it wrong that I feel smug and satisfied to see that this is what really gets to her? I hope not.
Best consequence ever.
She has been wonderful.

Bubbles is healing nicely, and was back to his usually entertaining state right away.
The other day, I was procrastinating getting myself out of bed, and he leaned over and planted a huge kiss on my lips. Sat back proudly, and said, "Mama! I kiss you!"
I said, "You did! You gave me a big kiss!"
He then grinned and said, "I kiss you! You get me milk?"
This child is clever. He knows what to do so I can not refuse him.

His language is improving, but his intelligibility is not keeping up with his vocabulary, so there are many comical moments involving language. His oral motor exercises are also really helping - in one day he ate yogurt (spoon) and applesauce (tube) - and he has not eaten yogurt for a year, and has NEVER eaten applesauce - he just didn't have to coordination to properly swallow it before. He couldn't remember what yogurt was called, and he pointed to what Supergirl was eating, "I wan DAT!"
"You want yogurt?" I asked.
"YES! I want mee-gurt!"
He has been working hard at pronouns lately.

Bubbles has created some elaborate adventure games (something his preschool teacher mentioned before the break), and he has been asking me to come along.
He boldly puts himself between me and the laptop screen.
"Mama! Wan go walk me?"
"Sure! Where are we going?"
He takes my hand and we have to stomp or sneak (his direction changes) up the stairs. The next part of the adventure usually involves going into their little bedroom or hiding under the covers of my big bed. At this point in the game, you have to yell, "OHNO! Skeery Dinosaurs! OHNO! They're coming!!" and you hide, hold your breath, gasp and giggle until the danger has passed and you can once again, return to the world outside the blanket.

At least five times each day, I find myself saying, "Three is so wonderful. I love three. Three is so lovely and fun and entertaining and oh wow - I just love three." I love that little guy so much. It's as if I had never had a three year old before.

And then I thought about that one for a while.

It's as if I had never had a three year old before.

And I feel so very sad for my little girl.
Because I do remember when she was three.
I remember it in snippets and snatches, but not enough of them.
I remember her swimming with a sea turtle in Maui on her third birthday.
We were in Maui because I could not be at home and still breathe.
I remember her asking me when I was going to get out of three pm.
I remember her telling people that she used to have a baby brother, but he died.
I remember making her a cake. But I don't remember what was on it.
I remember that she went to preschool, but I don't remember anything about it.
I took few pictures that year. I wanted no record then.
I remember yelling at her. A lot.
Too much.
I remember feeling that I had lost the magic.
Wanting it back; too tired or too sad to look for it.
I was barely there, barely cutting it as a mama.

Will she remember the yelling? The mama who wasn't there? Will she remember the glazed over eyes, the despair, the effort it took for her mama to get up every day?

Will she remember the years of trying so hard to make up for it all?

I love three.

Three is so bittersweet - I am trying to just enjoy it.

But oh how my heart feels so much guilt for my daughter.

Supergirl; doing the Hula on her 3rd birthday.


furiousBall said...

life grades on a curve, she might remember some of the "bad", but you've taught her more good

Julia said...

I hope what she remembers is that you did get up, over and over.

Mine remembers a lot, though she was older. But she also never got to see him, smile at him, you know?

Tracey said...

Oh, Gwen... My heart is crying for you and your guilt... You cannot change what was. She knows she is loved (even though she mangled Bubbles' head).

Three IS wonderful. Enjoy, hon.

The Turtle and the Monkey said...

This post speaks to me so much. I often wonder how much I missed of Monkey's short life due to the fear of Noah's ailments and then the grief of losing him. He is only two and has never had normal. I often wonder if he will remember all of this and how I and all of the shitty things happening are affecting him.

I agree with Julia, I hope she remembers that you did get up each day and continued on no matter how hard it was. In the end, I think she will just remember the good.

Guilt is tough. I can't tell you how many times I tell Monkey sorry as he falls asleep at night. I can't take away that his Daddy is gone and his twin brother is in heaven (or wherever we go). This is not what I had intended for him, but I am doing my best and I have to believe that our children are resiliant.

You are a good mama. She knows that.

RoseRedHoofbeats said...

*HUGS* You have an amazing daughter. I'll always remember the way she described God to you, how everything that was lovely about life was up in the sky, but it was too big for a name so we call it God. That's like, the coolest thing I've ever heard.

Children are resilient. They adapt. They forgive. They move on, so much better than adults can... I don't think she'll hold it against you. I think some day she'll have a baby, and she'll remember Elijah, and she'll think about you, and she'll be amazed that you did everything you do.

*more hugs*

Anonymous said...

Hey, you did the best you could, all you can do is do what you can when you can. It's how you survive. But you didn't drop off the face of the earth, you still functioned, you were still there. And that's all anyone CAN do when the sky falls down. And I'm betting even the itty bitty superkids can understand a fragment of that, and I'm pretty sure Supergirl'll understand the whole picture when she's older.

Linda said...

First of all, I love Bubbles. Luff him, luff him. When you are at the point where he is speakly clearly, I know that you will look back at the way he "used" to say things, and your heart will smile. My 3 year old granddaughter will wear only "gresses" and loves it when gamma gives her a "creat" (as in crick or creat")And she calls Buzz Lightyear "Buzz Lyle"...
You have done a superb job of getting him on track. Bless your heart. Bless Bubbles heart.

The guilt. Something I've had so much of over various things. And of course, you and I are both brilliant, so we know that guilt is in the heart and mind of the holder.My kids don't remember being three. There was some pretty rotten stuff going on in their lives at that age, and they don't remember at all. In fact, around age 7 & 8, I told them they had been at Disneyland when they were 2 & 3, and since they couldn't remember being 3 they wanted details of what they did. (of course I confessed that I was just funnin' with them)
I know that your situation is entirely different, but I can almost guarantee you that what Supergirl will remember is that she went to Maui(and most of that will be from looking at photos) and that she was, and is ever-so-loved. She will remember all the good stuff.
She will ALWAYS remember her mama's heart.

Mama Deb said...

Today's post has left me speechless. (Hey! Maybe my new resolution is taking hold!)
But's all good. Supergirl will look back and realize how amazing you are!

jenijen said...

you're an amazing and inspiring mother -- i know, i've totally seen you in action!


Lin said...

Save this post for your little girl, your terrific little girl. And talk to her about the year she was three when she's older. She is fine and you will be too, sweetie.


Vodka Mom said...

Count your blessings. When she's 17 she'll call you a fucking bitch.

sorry. just warning you. (Still love her, but MAN it's tough to remember those days.......)


Tricia said...

Laughing at Vodka mom- again!
I'm with Lin... and I just have to say, I hate three and a half- it's the worst age ever.

Sooo, hmmm, hmph... guess that's it.

Denise said...

This post got me in the gut. I have so much guilt for a crappy year G.No I am in no means comparing our two situations, but man that guilt is a bitch aint it? Love you girl and bubbles kicks ass.
Oh and I agree with the above comments. You haven't lived till you been called a fucking bitch by your teenager.

Anonymous said...

You know what I think? I think your Elijah wants to see you happy. I don't think he likes to see you sad and live in the past. Yes, you will never forget, how can anyone ever forget. Impossible. But to dwell, I think, saddens you and your Elijah. Do it for him. Live today so completely so you don't have to regret what your alive children do at any age. God bless.