Last night as I was brushing Justin's teeth, I was thinking that it wasn't that long ago that I could barely get a toothbrush in his mouth. He fought like a little madman to keep me from brushing his teeth. We started with counting 3 swipes across the front teeth and done. Even then it took probably 10 minutes to an hour every time to get him to do it. I remember thinking there is no way this child is ever going to willingly do this. Now there he stands willingly for probably 30 seconds while I brush. It's not perfect. We haven't even attempted flossing yet. But every day we are consistent and very, very, slowly we increase the routine and I desperately wish for a time machine so I could show the "me" of 3 years ago could see Justin standing there smiling while I brush his teeth now. I couldn't have fathomed it them, which makes me wonder what he will do 3 years from now that I can't begin to imagine today.
Haircuts were another battle I didn't think we would ever win. Somewhere around 3 years old we could no longer hold him still enough for a haircut - they would be afraid to try to cut his hair because he flailed and hit so much. So for a few years we would take him to the basement, strap him into an old carseat and buzzcut him, while he screamed. This always ended with all three of us covered head to toe in sweat, tears, snot, and hair - not a fun experience. Eventually we tried the salon again(I told him he needed a haircut and we could do the basement/carseat thing or he could try to behave at the solon, his choice)- he didn't like either option, but with a reward of a dinner out, he did it. For a while I had to stand right by him and occasionally help him hold his head and hands still, and give constant reminders. Yesterday, he got a haircut - and I just sat in a chair and waited. So much progress! There was a time I couldn't imagine him doing this but here we are. :-)
Anyway, it just really hit me last night as I brushed his teeth and looked at his sweet smile and his fresh haircut that these two were such huge hurdles, how hard we had to work to make these two routines possible, but now they are, and again I desperately wish I could talk to that younger me and tell her that he will get there. Yes, it is a long and sometimes painful process, but he will get there. And since I can't have a time machine and talk to that younger me, maybe I can give a little hope to the younger moms, and maybe I can give a little hope to myself for the road ahead.
We still have a long way to go in a lot of other areas, but knowing that we managed these things that seemed impossible to us not long ago, gives me the courage to continue facing more impossible things, knowing that we have overcome these impossible hurdles already.