Sweet Dreams and hopes of good parenting

Dear Mai,

You know me. I'm a mush ball. I get it. I'm a pushover. There's not much I can do about it. I'm smitten with you to no end. Its out of control. But you make it so damn hard with your damn cuteness. You look out for me too. The other day you and Mommy were driving home from the store and you passed the intersection of Fauntleroy and California. You have a good sense of direction and know that is where Daddy's favorite taco truck is. 

Maya: (as you glance out the window to look for my taco truck) "The taco truck is open! I have to tell daddy about this."

As you get older and experience more and more of the world, the more and more I want to protect you from it. Now time will tell but I think we're doing a pretty good job of letting you experience your own experiences, for better or worse. At the end of the day you have to learn what this world is about and how to make your own way through it. But there are some things that just kill me. Nightmares. And you're 2 so give me a break.

You just started having bad dreams recently and waking up in the night screaming. No. Me. Gusta. (Dear reader, its not an epidemic or anything so don't freak out.) We know its just normal and you know how to comfort yourself but its hard being a parent. I don't like hearing you scream for reasons I don't know. I want to cuddle you and just make it all go away. This is just a sample of how I'm going to feel for the rest of my life though isn't it?

How am I going to feel on your first sleep over? Your first date (when you're 30)? You're first time driving a car? And everything else between now and until the roles reverse on us?

My friend Roger mentioned something a long while back saying that it was hard watching horror movies (or any movies) that involved kids being in trouble once you have a kid. I had no idea what he meant. Boy do I now. I just finished watching the season 5 premiere of the Walking Dead and sheesh. There was a scene that was hard for me to watch. It wasn't even that bad compared to a lot of the horror movies that I've seen but it triggered some emotions in me that messed me up for the night. I think this is my therapy writing this blog tonight. (maybe I watch too many horror movies too... but its October! AND I still love me some horror flicks)

So what are we to do? Its not practical to make you live in a bubble nor is it throwing you to the wolves. As with anything Mai, moderation. If there is anything I hope you learn its moderation. Moderation in everything. Never excess and never deny. Moderation. If you learn moderation, all things in life will be easier. For Mommy and Daddy that means finding the right balance in what we let you learn on your own and what we take more guidance on. 

For example, what TV do we let you watch? Well, we've just recently started watching a bit more cartoons and even your first movie, Polar Express. (at least part of it) Grandma got you the Polar Express book and you've loved that for a long time. We were on a kick where we read that book almost every night. We recently started watching the movie and you were transfixed... until the hobo on the top of the train.

As soon as that scene started  you said, "I don't want to watch this anymore" in a very concerned tone and before I knew what was happening you lost your marbles. I turned it off and tried to talk you down but it really shook you. That was the first time I think I saw something scare you like that. 

You had a bad dream that night and told me the next morning you were scared that the polar express was going to come out your window. So Mommy and I talked you through it. We even invented the Polar Express game that we pretend we're on the polar express. I also started making up some stories for you called "The Mija Stories." One of the Mija stories riffs off Polar Express. So we have a ball with the whole Polar Express thing again and you don't have bad dreams about it anymore. We won't watch the movie until we think you're ready for it but I like to think we gave you ammunition to deal with that bad dream and make it a good one. 

Of course that is an example of something we can control. Unfortunately, not all situations are going to be in that realm. But know this. We will do everything we can to give you the best guidance we know how. 

At the end of the day I count our blessings. If a scary man on a Tom Hanks animated film is one of our concerns, we're doing okay. I think its just a mood I'm in today. You're growing up so quick. I bought your big girl bed today.  You used the potty all weekend. When we talk its a full on conversation. Sometimes its just overwhelming being a parent. We all want the best for our little humans. I never knew how powerful that emotion was until you came along. 

But enough about that. Let's celebrate the cuteness that is Maya Rose at 2.5. Here are the vocal stylings of Maya Rose Castañeda singing "Sweet Dreams" from her most beloved and most viewed Strawberry Shortcake Sweet Dreams movie.

May you always have sweet dreams mija.