Charlie girl is 17 months old today.  WHAT.  That seriously boggles my mind that she’s pretty much a year and a half.  So much has happened and continues to happen when it comes to my motherhood journey.  That sounds so lame, but it’s true.  Being a parent is a journey, and things keep changing and getting better and then getting worse and then getting better again.  But there’s really one thing that still remains constant.

I usually have no idea what the F I’m doing.

Am I the only one who feels this way?  I know parenting never comes with a handbook, and you have to figure it out as you go along, and while I’m pretty attuned to Charlotte’s needs and can figure out what she wants and when she wants it, I still have no idea what I’m doing.  Every day is like a game of chance.  Am I letting her watch too much TV?  Am I not reading the right books?  Am I letting her eat too much sodium or cheese?  Although, let’s be honest, can I fault myself for letting her eat ALL the cheese ALL the time when I do the same exact thing on a daily basis?  You can go crazy constantly questioning yourself if you’re making the right choices or if you’re just preparing them for thousands of dollars in therapy bills because you let them watch a little too much Henry Hugglemonster and it ruined their brain development, you know what I mean?

Last night Charlotte was banging on our bedroom door after Eric went to bed screaming for him, so I decided to take her outside to play for a while before her bath.  She was running up and down the sidewalk, stopping every now and then to put her hands in the weeds growing between the sidewalk cracks and then licking her hands, as toddlers tend to do.  Kid still won’t eat pastina, but sidewalk weeds are delicious.  Anyway, I bent down to make her stop and asked her why she felt the need to eat dirt and weeds when an older lady was walking past us with her little dog.  Char stopped to say hi and scream DOG at the top of her lungs, and the lady heard me ask Charlie why she felt the need to eat dirt.  She responded “because that’s what babies do.”  Then she stopped and told me she was the same way with her kids, always worrying about what they were doing, when an older woman stopped HER and told her the same thing.  That’s what babies do, and just let them do it as long as it isn’t dangerous and try to relax about it.  She told me to let it roll off my shoulders because a little dirt never hurt anyone and Char is just experiencing things for the first time.  I felt a lot better after that short conversation with that stranger and her little dog.  Maybe I’m not doing everything right, but I have a happy little girl who loves her life, and if she eats a little dirt now and then, so what?  A little dirt never hurt anyone.

I hope one day I can be an older lady, who sees a young woman frustrated with her toddler eating dirt, and I can pass on the same wisdom.  We parents are all in this together, one fistful of dirt at a time.

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