Nourishing Hearts and MindsParenting

A Thousand Hot Meals

Paisley has officially reached toddlerhood now and life has become infinitely more complicated. Today I wondered not for the first time who came in overnight and replaced my sweet little girl with a raging crazy person whose legs turn to jello the second her toes touch the carpet (side note: I now understand the term “meltdown”).

In all fairness, she’s been dealing with a lot of new events and feelings lately: travel, teething, her first cold, 15-month immunizations, a new bed, changing family dynamics… It’s not easy being a one-year-old! This week has been particularly challenging as she and I adjust to routine once again after a two-week trip to California. Hello, jet lag!

While we were away, Paisley and I had a lot of mommy-daughter time that we normally wouldn’t get to enjoy at home. We shared every meal and every shower and pretty much everything else so understandably, by the time we got back home, she had developed a new clinginess that hasn’t since faded.

By nature, Paisley hasn’t ever been a cuddlebug. And I mean she has NEVER sought cuddles from me for comfort, soothing, anything. When we were breastfeeding, which we did until her first birthday, she would derive some level of comfort from that closeness. But other than that, she is an independent little miss. Seriously, her last nap cuddled up on my chest occurred when she was just two weeks old. Then she needed space in order to sleep.

So her transformation to super cuddle/cling-woman has caught me off guard a little. Gone are the days when I can perform basic tasks, like sweeping the floor or pulling my hair up, without her ripping my pants off while trying to climb me. Everything is a whining cling-festival that, when combined with the toddler tantrums; refusals to eat, drink, or allow basic hygiene rituals; and an increasing sense of opinion and pickiness leave me quite frazzled by the end of the day. (If I weren’t already pregnant with our second child, this behavior is exactly what would ensure that Paisley stayed an only child for a LONG time – too bad she didn’t discover that six months ago, haha!)

Tonight especially was one of those evenings where I counted down the minutes until she would drift off to dreamland and Josh and I could have some time to ourselves. While I absolutely love Paisley with all of my heart, sometimes I need a break from being her mom. Sometimes, I am a grouchy imperfect mom. Glad we cleared that up.

Tonight I wanted a lovely pepperoni pizza from a local pizza shop that I’ve been frequenting a little too often this pregnancy. But my budget and a basic concern for health said “no way” to that desire, even though after dealing with a crazy toddler, a kick-y baby, the umpteenth rainy day in a row, and a yucky head cold, I should basically get whatever I want (amIright?!).

I made salmon instead. However, I used an AMAZING recipe from the Pioneer Woman (who basically understands every thought I’ve ever had about food) and it turned out so delicious that I was even ok with not getting my pizza fix. You know that’s some good salmon!

The second we sat down for our hot delicious meal (note that this can only be achieved after the crazy woman toddler has gone to bed), Paisley let out some cries like wild animals were trying to enter her bedroom window. Since we recently transitioned her to a big girl bed, we are a little quicker to check on her than we were when we knew she was snug in the crib so Josh hopped up from the dinner table to soothe her and hopefully put her to sleep.

After a few minutes, he came back to the table with Paisley still crying in the background with the report that she would only be content with someone in the room with her, cuddling her and rubbing her back.

Um, what?

I know that at this point most parents are nodding their heads and going “mmhmm, yup, sounds about right”. But at this point I’m wondering whether there are aliens masquerading as my daughter in her monster pajamas on her big girl bed. Literally, tonight was the first time IN HER LIFE that Paisley has wanted cuddly comfort to go to sleep.

Now, you have to understand, I am a HUGE cuddler. My primary love language is touch so you better believe that as soon as I knew my little princess needed some lovey snuggles to settle down and go to sleep I flew to her side. Even though my dinner was hot and Baby Rystedt v2 and I were very hungry.

As I settled down to snuggle with Paisley, I considered my hot dinner that was rapidly cooling itself while Josh ate his in its piping hot splendor, as it should be enjoyed. And I realized that I’d give up a thousand hot meals to cherish some quality time with my little girl.

As parents, we give up a lot for our children. It’s par for the course. Sometimes, the little people want more than we think we have to give. That’s been me all week this week, especially today. But as I laid in Paisley’s bed, holding her, and willing her to drift off to dreamland while I sniffed her fuzzy hair, there was nothing in the world that I wanted more than that moment. No hot meals, or pizza, or time alone, or sanity, or anything else could rival the coveted snuggles.

Ten minutes later, she was sitting up, giggling, and trying to pick my nose, which meant she was done with the cuddles and wanted to go to sleep on her own. Which she did about 5.7 seconds after I left her bedroom. But that’s not the point… That’s just life with a toddler!

Gabrielle Rystedt on EmailGabrielle Rystedt on FacebookGabrielle Rystedt on Pinterest
Gabrielle Rystedt
Gabrielle Rystedt
Gabrielle Rystedt is a writer by day and a writer by night (because writers never sleep), who spends time balancing client orders, a couple of books and her blog at Raising Rystedts. She’s a business school grad who’s dabbled in management, both at the project and company level. She loves coffee and crafting, and enjoys settling down with a good book. Though as mom to three kiddos in three years, she realistically spends most of her time reheating her coffee and typing away like a crazy person on a laptop keyboard while surrounded by (clean) cloth diapers and cheddar bunnies.

What are your thoughts?