Wee Cee is going. She’s on the move. She’s pulling up and ingesting various objects and yelling and screaming and crawling away from us at a wicked pace when we try to collect her to change her diaper. Now that she’s hit nine months, we’re actually using that little strap on her changing table because I guess it’s not there for decoration. It took her tumbling off the table once (and I caught her, thank my stars) for me to realize this. Honestly, people. I’m a parent.
We impose limits. No, C. Stop, C. Quiet, C. Shhhhhhhh, C. I think the most emblematic aspect of our relationship is that whenever I bring my index finger to my lips and blow “shhhhhhh”, she cracks up. It’s comic gold. Silly Mommy. Babies are for
She does not like no. It makes her cry to hear us say it, so I’ve been trying to remember to say “stop” instead since it’s less negative and oppressive and indicates that there are many, many alternatives to playing in the garbage and ripping my glasses off my face for the billionth time. When we remember to say stop and immediately offer her something else to do, we avoid conflict and she doesn’t get riled up. Stop is more constructive.
I’ve been parenting her since the moment I shoved her out at the hospital, but all of a sudden I am Parenting-Parenting her. I am having to reconcile my personality with hers and make decisions on the best way to tackle obstacles that arise in her exploration of the world. For the first time, I’m acutely aware that she has feelings and desires apart from Hungry-Sad and Song-Happy, and I want to respond to them lovingly and constructively. Before you have a baby, you have a vivid concept of how you want to raise her. You think that since you are cognizant of what makes a good parent, you will obviously be one. Once she comes, though, the amount of strategizing involved in being that parent and giving her every single opportunity to flourish and grow is staggering. You have to turn that “no” right back around on yourself when you’re at your breaking point and want to throw her out the window for flipping over one too many times when you’re changing her diaper.
Just like her, though, stop works for me a lot better. Just stop. I take a breath and realize I’m a human. Be patient and realize that just because I said no does not make me Hitler, and remember that whatever she just did to make me say it does not make her rotten. We’re both growing so frequent Stop Breaks are loving and necessary for us to both be our best.