A Mother’s Paradox

This may seem random (and it is) but the bit of Michael J. Fox’s book Always Looking Up that struck me most was this:  the toughest, but most important aspect of being a parent is being able to let go.  (Fox’s reflections on parenthood are definitely worth the read!)  My parents gave me a great example of allowing a child to figure things out independently, but with a healthy dose of guidance, and I hope we’re able to emulate that.

 

 

I’m surprised this is already relevant with a six-month-old baby, but it absolutely is.  Jacob is learning so much so quickly, and I find I need to give him space to learn on his own.  Sometimes it also means urging him to do something a part of me might not really want to see happen.

 

A friend and fellow new mom found humor in something similar while we were both pregnant last year.  She had just found out the gender of her baby (a precious little girl, with cheeks that go on for days).  She was telling me how strange it is that during the ultrasound she and her husband were encouraging their little one to reveal a very private area of herself—something they’d never want her to do again.  In the same way, she said, we were encouraging our babies to kick so that we could feel them move.  She pointed out that after they were born, we would never again ask our babies to kick their mothers.

 

I’m stuck in an analogous situation now, as Jacob is slowly, but surely, learning to eat from a spoon and put together the skills he needs to crawl.  Every one of his developments is fascinating to me, and I’m thrilled to witness these profound moments in his life, but I also see him stepping away from baby and closer to little boy.  I cheer him on, then almost bite my tongue.

 

Do I really want him to learn to crawl?  (I need a couple of good nights’ sleep first!)  Am I really encouraging him to work towards eating independently, and eventually wean from nursing?

 

Of course I am, but sometimes it all feels like it’s coming on too quickly.  This is what people mean when they say kids grow up too fast.  Thank goodness I get to be here for every moment of it.  It may be quick, but it’s incredible.  And at the end of the day, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

P.S. Feeding update:  Yesterday I posted about Jacob’s aversion to “solid” food.  Today he made a great stride in accepting the food-filled spoon into his mouth.  He then smiled when I offered him praise and proceeded to spill all the liquid out of his mouth.  Next step: swallowing.

 

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