I was reading a comic I like recently and it made me burst into tears. How Baby Comic talked about an ask reddit thread where people talked about the saddest sentence they could think of, and the author quoted:
“one day, your parents put you down and never picked you back up again.”
We are in that zone now, things are shifting away slowly to a different stage, he’s ready to be more independent, and I am working on let go. For the first 2 years, he wouldn’t hold his bottle by himself, and I was happy to snuggle him anyway. A few months ago, he started holding it entirely by himself.
Where a few weeks ago, he would still fall asleep on me for his afternoon nap, now he’s getting to the point where he wont need us to snuggle him anymore. Sometimes he falls asleep in his own bed, all by himself. These things are bittersweet. I am excited for his journey towards independence, but it’s that clear sign that he is growing up and out, and part of me just wants to hold him close as long as I can.
It’s been important to us to let him go at his own pace, if he was feeling more independent, we would encourage him, if he was needing more help, I was happy to support him. We play every day by ear, because everyday is different.
We’re feeling a lot better now, but we’ve been sick for about a week – before us it was my partner that was sick, then the rest of us caught it eventually. My goal was to take it as easy as possible – and to encourage my son to do the same. The weather was pretty mediocre as well, so it lent it self well to staying indoors for the most part.
Who knew how lovely it could be to feel crummy and to snuggle on the couch with a tiny human – I had no idea how cuddly and precious it could be. We spent a lot of time with books – both individually and separately, but also, eventually a lot of screen time in the form of puffin rock, a puffin documentary with the Nature of Things, and then more books.
I’m feeling a lot better today – and I think the tiny human is too, so we’ve already done more activity than we did on most days during the past week. It was an interesting experiment in screen time self-regulation as well, as there were times when my son asked me to turn off the television. But I am hoping we can get back to our previous level of not-so-much tv and lots of outdoor fun and I’m hoping we can have a nice adventure this weekend and make the most of it.
I’m not alone in how I see children, there are people that inspire me to be better and more thoughtful and more patient – folks like Robin Enzig of Visible Child and Teacher Tom. Having expectations are developmentally appropriate and fair make things a lot easier. Boundaries are created and kept and gently supported. Feelings are allowed. Children are supported and set up for success instead of pushed towards one thing or another. Children are spoken to as people, not play things or cute puppies.
We tried a class today that ended up being vaguely stressful for me, and I don’t think we’ll do it again for a while. I’ve been curious about circus school with jumping and climbing and bouncing and stretching. But we went to a program for the under 4 set, and it was so structured and was full of false praise and expectations, and it seemed so out of step with reality. They were pretty flexible though, so they still seemed reasonable about it, but the words they used, the tone of their voice, their actions, and developmentally inappropriate expectations didn’t work very well for me. Or my son.
I’m not sure what the solution to this is – I can’t change the world, and I cannot change how I feel about disrespectful behaviour towards children, so we’re likely just not going to go back there – because for now, while I can’t change the world, I can change the world my son is exposed to and hope for the best.
I think of it as developing a framework of respect at home – you scaffold a positive sense of self – encourage empathy with others – and build on that. Once he’s a bit older, I hope our efforts leave him with a positive foundation to build up from as he interacts with more and more people. Together we make a good team, we interact, he seems to know that my rules and boundaries are not arbitrary, and have some kind of reasoning behind them. I find that I can remember how I felt as a child, and that has greatly influenced how I see things – maybe people have forgotten what it was like and are doing the best they can with what they’ve got, but so am I.
While obviously, this is a significant milestone for him – I’m trying to find a balance between telling my story, and not telling his. The often forgotten part of birthday’s are parents – and I know I never gave my parents much thought when I was growing up and it was my birthday. It was just me. Now I feel like I should have at least gotten my mom a card…
I’m very sentimental – moments in time are meaningful to me, and I cling to a memory and repeat it in my mind over and over again (occasionally to my detriment). How do you mark one of the most life altering moments? How do you celebrate something/someone so tangible and intangible?
With cake of course.
We didn’t plan a big theme, or a party. I had considered it, but then realized the party would have just been for me (and to be honest, 95% of the time I don’t care for parties either) and would have been overwhelming for my little one. A few people (family) came over anyway, and as expected, it was a little overwhelming for the little one. So I felt good about not organizing “a thing” this year.
The three of us went and played in a nearby park for a little while until it was time to go home and nap.
One of my presents (to myself) for the Beeboo’s birthday was this cute happy crabby onesie from Beb and Ooo. (also, was excited to grab something from them because of our kiddo’s nickname!) I picked it up at the Baby Show from Modern Rascals.
What has changed for me in a year?
I realized just how much time I used to have. Time to myself. Time to watch tv. Time to do absolutely nothing. I’ve become more efficient with my time – while still completely wasting it somedays. I’ve come to accept that there is value in “wasting” time – the first few months while the Beeboo napped I cleaned and did useful things.
Now I’m chilling out for a few hours while he sleeps, and then I will do all the things while he’s awake. I think there is a lot of value in him seeing me do things that need doing in the house, because it’s less of a magical process, and more of a process with actions involved.
My body is not what I remember pre baby. Even while pregnant, things were quite different. It’s hard some days. I feel pain where I didn’t feel pain before, but slowly I can feel myself moving and feeling a bit better again so there is light at the end of this tunnel.
I’m trying to stay away from the negativity of others, and accept that healthy comes at every size. One of my favourite discoveries has been the Healthy Habits Happy Mom‘s community on Facebook. It’s a friendly encouraging place that supports self care, positive self-esteem, and listening to your body.
I have a greater appreciation for my partner. I appreciated him before, I think, but now I really see how incredible he is. He is encouraging, supportive, and a great father, and a great husband. I value the time we get to spend one-on-one all the more now.
I’ve lost friends. This one is tough. People I used to be friends with for years, have disappeared. Some because of me, some because of them. Maybe we will find our way back to some kind of friendship again, or not.
On the bright side, I’ve found new friends and found new community. This one is huge. The friendships I’ve made this year have been significant. I’ve gotten closer to acquaintances I used to know, and have met a lot of really lovely people (usually people that are parents) and while we don’t have everything in common, we do have a few things that matter.
I’m acutely aware of needing something that differentiates me as an individual, as well as a mother. Since I’m in the process of shutting down a business that acted as part of my identity for the last few years, I’m entering a space where I feel adrift without an alternate anchor.
I feel more confident for the future. I feel like a capable parent and like I can handle what comes next (I might regret saying this in a few months/weeks/days/hours, but right now it’s totally true.)
Ultimately, I’m trying to make sure that I’m enjoying the present, but also looking forward to the future. We have a lot of fun everyday, lots of laughs, and lots of books. I’m excited to share the things I love with the ones I love, and I’m looking forward to the years ahead.