I love my daughter, I really do. But at 11 months it is painfully obvious she does not appreciate the care I put into my cooking. Today I didn’t overcook the shrimp. Today I sautéed them in butter, lemon zest and fresh garlic.
The beans are a recipe of my Puerto Rican Grandma’s, straight from my childhood. I wanted to cook them so I didn’t forget the recipe. I wanted to cook them to pass down that little bit of food tradition since she’s not here anymore and she never got to meet my daughter. I have been irritable and on edge all day just ready to lash out at any provocation. I nearly did already when the cats and dog got under my feet.
But I had been holding back when it came to Alice. She was having a bad day too. She woke up cranky and was on and off crying all day. Maybe it was her diaper rash that was causing her so much discomfort. I’m not sure.
She was in a good mood when I set the plate with the cut up shrimp and ancient grains and beans in front of her. But quickly it just became a game to her. She upended the plate and began flicking the rice off her high chair.
I couldn’t get mad. I couldn’t get frustrated with her and I definitely couldn’t take my irritation out on her. So I just let her know that we don’t do that with our lunches and I took the plate away. I finished my lunch without losing my temper and I’m quite proud of that. All day I had been waiting to just lose it and it didn’t come. And you know what. It doesn’t have to. I choose how I react in a situation. I have that control. Amazing isn’t it.
The best thing is that she sees that I’m in control of my emotions and how I react. I’m modeling appropriate behavior for her. I never thought I would be a more mature parent than my own parents.