First — so much love for Darius Rucker. As Darius Rucker or as Hootie, it’s all warm and fuzzy feelings for me.
Anyway, I loved this post, JB. It took me back to when my kiddos were little like that. ❤
One of my most painful (and also freeing) realizations as a parent was the fact that there are certain things that, no matter how tiny they are, they are going to have to accomplish completely independently of me.
Things I CANNOT do FOR them no matter how much I want to. No matter HOW HARD they seem to struggle to figure it out.
The first big one was certainly sleep. I mean, I can contort myself into a pretzel at 6:52 pm every night and dangle a mobile from my toe while rocking them at a 47 degree incline to a live performance of Darius Rucker singing “You’re Gonna Miss This” until they leave for college because that is the only way they sleep through the night; sure. But who will get them to sleep at University?
Another example: My son is a bed wetter. He’s 10 and still regularly wets the bed. It’s far less frequent than it used to be, because of a behavior mod program he went through that was fairly successful. But he won’t stop wetting the bed until he stops wetting the bed. I know because I’ve silently willed him to stop, with all my might, every time I need to be getting ready for work but instead I’m helping him strip his bed and wash the sheets because he’s too short to independently run the washer and dryer. I’ve offered my soul to satan. I’ve bargained with the water gods.
No luck. Ugh. and I am SICKSICKSICK to death of washing goddamn sheets.
Don’t worry, I do nothing but love him through it. He’s probably the most well-adjusted bed wetter in history.
There are also things you will choose to do to avoid certain “habits” you’ve seen other babies adopt that you REFUSE to let your kid develop, and then the alternative you chose to sidestep that pitfall will result in something worse than what you were trying to avoid.
Mine was the damned pacifier. My brother had that thing hanging out of his mouth until he started Kindergarten. It was disgusting! So, I decided that I was going to raise my first-born pacifier FREE! I actually worked with her to help her learn to self-sooth with her thumb.
Because I’m an idiot.
So, she’s 14 now and still sucks her thumb to fall asleep at night.
She needs braces because of it but the dentist won’t refer her to the orthodontist until she breaks the habit.
She isn’t interested.
As a result of my failed experiment, my son was practically born with a pacifier in his mouth. He weaned from it at 19 months and never looked back.
The most interesting lesson I learned from being a mom, though, was how adaptable kids are.
Whenever it was time to cut out a night feeding, or wean off the breast, or bottle, or add a new food, or start preschool…whenever it was time for anything new or different…I would get all worked up considering all the possible reactions they could have to the change in routine. I would come up with action plan for each potential reaction so we were prepared. I would lose sleep. I would follow a strict set of instructions, in order, to maximize our chance of success.
I was going to micro-manage my kids right out of any opportunity for them to feel uncomfortable or anxious and ensure everything was always smooth-sailing.
Basically, my best thinking would have resulted in the kind of childhood that turns kids into serial killers. Yay, me!
Luckily kids are smarter than we are. Every change in routine that I got so worked up about…EVERY ONE…my kids failed to even NOTICE. They just segued seamlessly on to the next adventure.
They didn’t even blink.
Because THEY ARE SO SUPER COOL.
Thank God for that.