It's been a year since I felt like I had something to say through this forum, and I am excited to be back. I hope you all are happy to have me...

We're out and about, playing in the park or walking through the store, and D takes a tumble. She's there, splayed out on her belly on the ground, and she gives a shout. Not a scream or a cry, but a shout. I, well, I do nothing. I wait. Then, the looks come. They come mostly from little old ladies and other moms with a baby or a toddler - occasionally they come from moms with older kids, or dads even, but not most of the time.

D gets up, brushes herself off, and looks back at me. "I'm ok mama."
"Good deal Bear, I'm glad you're ok."

Baby D was intense. She needed a lot... of everything, except for toys. She needed to be held, as much as possible. She needed to nurse, whenever she wanted. She needed every cry attended to, immediately.  She needed to sleep pressed up against mommy, daddy, or some other loving friend or relative.

Then she got bigger, and she needed less. From about 12 months to 18 months she struggled with the getting bigger and the needing less. It wasn't always an easy transition to go from having your wants and needs be one and the same to having wants that aren't needs. It's a hard lesson, but like the song says, you can't always get what you want...

I tried to make the transition as happy as possible. We celebrated every step toward greater independence and kept our connection as close as possible. Co-sleeping, nursing, baby(toddler)wearing, unlimited hugs and kisses - these remained the tools of my trade. Now, at almost 2 (just over a month to go!), I am amazed at how my intense-baby turned struggles-with-transition toddler has become such an amazing and remarkably separate little person.

I do miss the little squishy bundle of total dependence that wanted nothing more than mama's arms and mama's milk to be happy, but that being said...

There is so much joy in my newly acquired freedom to do nothing!

I often get asked by my precious D to put on a movie or a show. I usually say no. This generally results in a lot of shrieking and flopping about on the floor. It's amazing how quickly not doing anything fixes this problem, or - more accurately - allows it to fix itself. With that lovely toddler attention span of a microsecond, D is quickly off of her tantrum and on to finding something more enjoyable to do. And this "finding something more enjoyable to do" does not involve me. You see, there are still many things she needs me for, but entertaining her is not one of those things. If there is one thing my little girl does not need my help with, that thing is play.

I'm going to say that again, a little louder: If there is one thing my little girl does not need my help with, that thing is play.

Not to say that I don't play with her, I do. There is a lot of hide-n-seek, tickle monster, and carry-dad's-socks-to-the-drawer (what? she thinks it's fun!), but I spend most of her playtime - which is mostly anytime she isn't eating or sleeping - staying our of her way. I dance around and sing songs with her, I let her help with the garden or the cooking, and we read books together. Still, I expect her to spend significant chunks of time playing on her own with her dolls, cars, puzzles, play kitchen, or just rocks and sticks outside.

She is extremely good at this.

This leaves me time to do things around the house. I often spend it with a book and a cup of tea instead. I am learning to happily embrace living in the chaos of a small child's home. So long as there are dishes to eat off of, reasonably clean clothes to wear, and sticky floors get a good once over every week, I can let the rest of it be until I feel especially drawn to tidying up. I accept that I must attend to my own sanity first, and that requires time to do nothing. Nothing sometimes means puttering in the kitchen with new recipes or reading a good book. Sometimes it involves yoga or swinging in the hammock. It's not unheard of to involve celebrity gossip or Ally McBeal reruns.

Sometimes doing nothing when it comes to D takes more self-control than doing something. When she decides to start screaming in the grocery store or she wonders aimlessly around the playground without playing with anything, I have a really hard time just letting it be. I am definitely a work in progress, but I am getting there. I find myself constantly amazed at what she can do when I leave her to it. She is, as an example, teaching herself to go to the potty. I let her roam around with just a shirt on, and she has decided she'd rather go in the potty than pee all over herself. It's been remarkably easy.

Some days, the doing nothing doesn't work, like the infamous day of the hour-and-a-half long tantrum caused by too little sleep. There are times when I want to pull my hair out after she throws her plate of food on the floor for the third time. So instead of nothing - because doing nothing feels impossible - I turn the focus on myself. I concentrate on my reactions, my emotional response. I spend my energy calming myself, hoping to teach D how to do the same. I think it's working, but I guess I'll just have to keep doing nothing and see.
12/30/2011 13:21

good post

01/27/2012 21:29

will be restored before long

03/21/2012 08:30

good post

03/24/2012 08:25

Great info, thanks


THX for info

09/07/2012 18:21

Nice one info, thx


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