Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tandem Baby Steps-Rethought



This Mother's Day weekend
brought with it two excitements.

One, my routinely scheduled escapade to the desert was slightly curtailed by Chup's suggestion that instead of camping, we accept his offering of a hotel room with a jacuzzi tub in St. George. At least one of us was very encouraged by this idea. Who knew I had a baby who excites over weekend stays with white linen beds?


In the end the dry wind and high heat did us all some good. Though my hair will definitely need some therapeutic deep conditioning treatment. Time to call Ashlee my scalp therapist.

The second excitement is The Chief's decision to walk. This is the part that totally astonishes me. I had nothing to do with his final inclination to raise himself up on his feet and move them forward. As it happened I was folding his laundry. It was all him.

In an effort to assist his toddling, we took him over to the indoor track a couple weeks ago to play a walking game of baby tennis. Chup and I sat on the floor with stretched legs directing our son to use his dexterity to move towards either of us. He stood, tottering on the edge of balance, only to plant his padded behind on the floor, lift to his knees and crawl with a maniacal smile.

I gave up.

Because it really wasn't about me.

Here is my first real lesson of motherhood: to let my child choose. And on the day he was ready, quietly together in his orange nursery, he stood and walked towards a solitary block hiding underneath his crib. I have never known such surprise or jubilation. No really, let me write that sentence again. I have never known such surprise or jubilation!

Despite my obvious hysteria and thrill, this episode has made me think about the grand scheme of parenting. How I have expectations of how much control I can have over my baby. But so far, his napping times, diet preferences and general attitudes have been all of his own. And this bit about weaning at a year old? No way. Unless there is major changes in my son's proclivity in the next two weeks. I will let you know.

I guess I am learning that the only control I have is over myself. How I choose to react to the fact that The Chief loves nursing more than he did when we spent two-thirds of the day doing it. Will I let that continually bind me, or bless me?

Or his wavering decision to pull out his bag of tricks in front of baited audiences. Wave! Wave Chief! Can you wave? Wave! Wave to her! Wave Good bye! And nothing . . . until we get to Rubios where he dazzles a whole table of fish-taco-eating construction workers by flashing his underhanded wave. Now you wave!

Or his hatred of letting me lather him with soft, smelly lotion. Do I grieve the days that are gone, or celebrate his initiation into little boyhood? I think I am going to cry.

I hope I will always have the faith to let him choose his way, knowing that as I allow his character to grow, mine will too. In learning to see that his choices are his own, I am empowered to own my reactions. And my desire--above all else--is to choose to be a happy mother.

Just glad to be here.




Post-edit: I remember asking my Aunt Chriss about her philosophy on parenting teenagers. She told me that together with her husband they decided to simply make their home happy. Their theory was that in making their home enjoyable, their children would choose to be there over anywhere else. I've always loved that approach because it is simple. It guarentees nothing, and yet provides a common goal centered around hope and happiness.

I really want to focus on happiness as a parent because I don't want my children to think their choices can manipulate my own. Or, more importantly, I don't want to manipulate my children's choices. I hope to establish a relationship based on education, learning from one another, rather than controlling one another.

We'll see how it goes, I've got a couple decades to figure things out.