I had a really great time with Kiran yesterday. We went to the science center and the state historical museum, both firsts for us. We were out and about, watching other kids and other people, checking out interesting exhibits. I enjoyed it, and I think, for the most part, Kiran did too.
At the historical museum, I overheard a mother and her son, also around Kiran’s age, have a conversation about lunch. She was doing that thing I always advised parents to do at the terrible two stage: offering choices. And the child was choosing: Do you want to go get something to eat while we are out or go home to eat? Home. Do you want peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese? Peanut butter and jelly.
And it took me back to my nanny days. It took me back to those sweet moments of letting the two year olds in my care take ownership of these small bits of their lives. And it brought back that familiar sadness.
These are the conversations I thought I would be having with Kiran at this age. These are the things I thought I would be doing with him all the time – and we are doing these things – but there is still so much he can’t interact with at these exhibits.
But alongside that, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this: I have no idea how to parent Kiran. I have so much experience and so many wonderful ideas that I’ve been able to put into practice as a nanny, but so far, very few of them apply. I’m flying by the seat of my pants. I am having to improvise everything I know, change tactics, figure things out differently, and certainly challenge and modify my own expectations.
Everyone always told me it would be different when I had my own kids. I knew in my heart of hearts it wouldn’t be – and actually, truth be told, in many ways, it’s not – the important things have remained important to me: schedules, sleep, consistency. But everyone was right, anyway, just not in the way they meant to be.