There comes a time that sort of sneaks up on you. Even if you have, subconsciously or otherwise, requested it on those crazy busy loud days, it still takes you by surprise.
At some point, your baby is no more, your toddler has snuck away, and you have in front of you a little girl or boy. And their growth and maturity surprises you daily, but you expected that.
What you forgot to prepare for was the pushing and pulling away.
She still needs you - but not as much. She still wants you - but not as much. She can, do it myself. Yet she doesn't know the balance yet, because right now, around age three, it's all about testing the outer limits of life. How far she can stretch herself yet still have the security of you.
And if you were even slightly prepared for this stage, knowing that the pulling and stretching was coming, you forgot that you too were part of the dance. That the relationship was going to be stretched by both of you.
Somewhere inside, you have been growing yourself, to be ready for this stage. Perhaps we fight it, perhaps we've been crying for it, but it comes anyways.
So you seem more irritable than usual. Co-sleeping is pushing your buttons, zero tolerance on any whining or clothes pulling, annoyed at the lack of co-operation or ability - because she did this yesterday perfectly, right? - and yet another request for 'up'...... Just as she is uncertain if she wants or doesn't want, and what that want is exactly, so are you.
Are you hormonal, just plain grouchy, a bad mother?
No, you're just both ready, life is ready, - to move to the next stage of your mother-child connection. The energetic cords created at conception begin their obvious dissolution right now. It's necessary, inevitable, desirable... and painful.
Suddenly aware of what's occurring, you breathe deeper when the irritability rises, recognising it as an external sign of the internal shifting.
And you scoop her up, because the day she won't want that ever again is the next stage.