|How could this precious child hurt anyone's feelings?|
Yesterday, after coming off a pretty rocky Wednesday, where I struggled to keep my sh!t together (we'd been up since 5am, had two baths, you guess why and he chucked all his dinner around a restaurant for flare!), we were playing in his room before I took him to daycare. He was really getting the hang of opening and closing the door, loving every minute of it. Oh, how cute he was being. I was helping him be careful, because that's what Moms do. When he was dangerously close to pinching his fingers, I removed his hand and pulled him slightly away. He flailed his little body and let out a cry like "why are you so horrible to me, Mom?!". This scenario repeated itself a few times before we had to leave for the day. Normally, I am a "take no sh!t from anybody" kind of girl, but this kid, not even a year old, like really just hurt my feelings. I dropped him off at daycare and then called my husband in CA. We chatted about logistical stuff (dog grooming, house cleaners, dryer repair) and then we talked about the new behavior that the baby was exhibiting. I admitted that he hurt my feelings and it was bugging me even after the baby wasn't with me. Why was this affecting me like this?
When you become a mother, you joke with your parents and other mothers about how sassy the kids will be when they start Kindergarten, how they are going to talk back when they are teenagers... there will be plenty of times in the future where your children will say things that are like daggers in your heart (and back)... but no one has ever talked to me about how your beautiful baby, who not so long ago snuggled to your chest, would start voicing their non verbal opinion in such a forceful way. I was blindsided, to be honest. The girls at daycare talk about what a love my child is. He holds hands with sleeping babies after all. The girls snuggle with him (he doesn't snuggle with me anymore!), he gives all the kisses in the world (who do you think taught him that neat trick?), he eats all the food they give him (well, at least he's eating)... it seems he is behaving like an angel for everyone but Mom lately. I don't get it but I guess I don't really need to. The adjustment has to be made on the Mom side, because we are talking about trying to reason with a baby here.
After talking to my cousin about this, we both discovered that we have had similar experiences. Step one in feeling better is to know that you're not alone. We talked about how they don't know how to communicate yet. This is their way of telling us that they want something else. It is up to us to help them navigate, consistently reinforcing the correct behaviors. "Hopefully" one day it sticks. You can't raise your voice to a baby, but a forceful NO will eventually sink in. The next step is trying not to be too sensitive. When he was born, a whole new range of emotions was introduced, most of which was my SUPREME capacity to love. With that love came an openess which is why the feelings were right there, vulnerable, ready to be hurt. He is a baby. He is not purposefully trying to hurt my feelings. He is being a baby, a cute little bumble bee who brings a lot of joy into my life but who is also growing up, whether I like it or not.
I am sure there will be many more instances in my life where this child and possibly future children, will make me sad with something that they say or do. What I need to concentrate on is that they will bring me more joy in this world than they will (*fingers crossed*) strife.
Has your child ever hurt your feelings?