So, The Thing Is... Im Feeling A Little Guilty
So, the thing is? I am feeling a little guilty.
I know, I know, what's new? I'm like the travel agent for guilt trips. Right now I'm feeling a little guilty because I am so madly in love with my little Smiley Jane, who turns two-years-old today. I mean, REALLY crazy about her. I can't keep my hands off of her. Her smile just lights up my whole world and that laugh-gosh, if I could bottle that baby deep-belly laugh, I would be the richest woman in the world. It's hard to capture the essence of Jane's personality with words. I can't really describe that sense of perpetual motion, that blinding smile. It's like she is lit from within, and I think that light is joy and enthusiasm and awe for this world. She's so loving and so happy (even with that awesome temper) and then you add that baby skin and that wall-to-wall smile and the next thing you know, I am feeling guilty!
I can remember going through this phase with Ana (now four-and-a-half) too, although she was never quite so over-the top at loving me back as Jane is. But there was no need to feel guilty because she was my first. I just totally indulged myself in a big crush on my girl. But with Jane, there's this vague sense that maybe I'm being somehow unfair. Like maybe my infatuation with her takes something away from Ana.
And it's true, you know. I am NOT madly infatuated with Ana at the moment. I LOVE her and I appreciate her and I marvel at her but it's also her job to push my buttons. She's good at it. The whining thing. The testing thing. The negotiating thing. The monitoring my speed limit when I drive thing. I can honestly (albeit ashamedly) say that when she goes to school, I am a little relieved. It's just hard with her right now. She's four going on about thirteen, and she ignores me half the time and is cheeky another fourth of the time and then she's so completely wonderful and loving and funny the other fourth that I feel MORE guilt.
Oh, but that Hurricane Jane! I miss her if she's merely taking a long nap. Sometimes when I go in to check on her at night and I see her, asleep in her mermaid pajamas and her little rump up in the air, I have to stop myself from picking her up, just to feel her little baby self. She's so compact at this age. She hugs so well. I am getting some real one-on-one time with her now that Ana's in school in the mornings. And she's just CHARMING.
I took her to the playground the other day and she wanted me to swing on the big girl swing next to her. "That's GREAT swinging, Mama!" she said, encouragingly. (I love the way she always uses everyone's proper names when she is addressing them.) A little bit later, as we sat on the playscape and looked at the full moon still visible in the sky, she turned to me, blue eyes grave and awed. "Boo-ful. It's boo-ful, Mama." I gazed back at her, afraid my heart would burst. "Yes, Jane. It is. Beautiful."
I think part of appreciating Jane so much is that I know now how fleeting these days are. Every wonderful stage gives way to something else, and where once I cradled her and leaned over her as she took her first steps, now I'm watching her run away from me into her own world. And after Ana, I knew this was coming, so all the times Jane runs into my arms become that much more precious. I give myself permission to enjoy the view of her little naked behind and the funny way she confuses her pronouns. ("Hold you? Hold you, Mama?") She's given to spontaneously saying, "I luff you, Mama." But I know. I know the day is coming when it will be gone, the last vestiges of her babyhood, almost without me even noticing.
Sometimes I watch Ana in this new role as my Independent Big Girl and I just want so much to reach out and pull her into my lap and hold her for a long while. I want to tell her I'm on her side. But I can't. She wouldn't stand for it (or believe me, for that matter.) The other night she came out of her room after bedtime on some pretext and when I tucked her back in, I kissed her.
She wiped my kiss off.
I guess this is a normal rite of passage, but must they all be such heartbreakers? I thought I was allotted a period of time when I got to be the hero -- what happened? This past summer, after I'd said "No" to her about something, she wanted to go to the grocery store and find a new family and go home with THEM. (I wish I could say I responded with sensitive probing about her feelings but instead I said, "Okay, as soon as you find a new family, I'll drive you right to their house.") The teenage years loom large.
So you can see why I prefer, ever so slightly, the uncomplicated relationship I share with the little Hurricane. She who still craves my presence and hugs me with abandon and misses me when I'm away. She who spontaneously started to YODEL in the grocery store a few months ago. (Seriously!) She, who is so responsive to my slightest touch. Who is silly just to make me laugh. Who likes to wear my shoes.
Maybe the first two years or so of a child's life are given to us as gifts -so we have a firm foundation of holding them closely that will withstand the next sixteen years of them distancing themselves from us. As Graham Green said, "There is always a moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in." I don't actually know that this is the start of the third year, but it would make sense.
I don't really want Jane to stay a baby -there are many other wonderful milestones along the way to adulthood. But I am enjoying every minute of it while I can (albeit with a small amount of guilt.)
Happy birthday, Smiley Jane. May you always have that sparkle in your eye and that yodel in your heart.
Babies are such a nice way to start people. ~Don Herrold
To subscribe or unsubscribe to this free e-mail newsletter, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Your address will not be used for any other purpose.) If you would like to forward this column on, please do so in its entirety. Feedback welcome. Back issues can be found at http://www.sothethingis.com.
(c) Barbara Cooper 2002
About The Author
Barb Cooper is the mother of Ana (4.5) and Jane (TWO) and this newsletter entitled "So, the thing is.... She lives in Austin, Texas.
Send the Kids Outside!
Think back to your own childhood. Chances are, some of your fondest memories are of outdoor activities and places.
How to Prepare for Labor
Although nothing anybody says can ever completely prepare a woman for the day she delivers her first baby, there are some simple suggestions that should help make this amazing experience a little bit easier.First of all there are three very honest realities about childbirth that your doctor, mother, grandmother, and maybe even your best friend will probably not tell you.
How To Homeschool Without Making Your Child An Outcast
If you are currently homeschooling or considering homeschooling your child, you probably know all the benefits homeschooling can provide. You'll have more control over the curriculum, be able to customize teaching to your child's personal learning style, and avoid the pressures and dangers of public schools.
Predicament:My son is 4 1/2 years old. His younger brother is 2 1/2.
Summer Marks the Time to Remember Active Supervision Around Family Swimming Pools
LOS ANGELES (May 19, 2005) - With Memorial Day weekend, and summer fast approaching, EMS, first responders, and water safety advocates, are bracing for the unthinkable - the unfortunate drowning accidents in backyard swimming pools that annually claim the lives of nearly 500 children under the age of five, and an estimated 2,800 "near-drowning" incidents.1The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports, for every child who drowns, six more children are involved in "near-drowning" incidents - accidents that can lead to permanent neurological damage, life-long disabilities, and leaving the parents with catastrophic medical costs and years of recovery and therapy.
Tips for Parents of Teenagers: Dont Just Survive - Thrive!
What makes parenting so challenging at times? One widespread research study reports that feeling "unprepared" tops the list for many parents' causes of dissatisfaction. And parents of teenagers, in particular, may feel this acutely as so many changes converge at once: adolescents are changing in every conceivable way while they often push parents away in their search for individuality.
The Mystery of Child Beliefs, Spirit in Children, Understanding Spirtuality in Children
In the wonderment of childhood, it is easier for a child to find Spirit and belief than it is for adults! Tainted with the experiences of the mundane world, sadly a downhill experience of late, adults can become jaded, defensive, argumentative and nonbelievers. Not so with the purity and innocence of childhood.
Bird Flu Pandemic
What are the easiest things citizens can do to prevent spreading in an epidemic outbreak in America of a virus. There are many things you can do and warn your kids not to do; for instance tell your children; Do not touch handrails in public places and buses.
Parenting Your Teenager: The 4 Ds of Time with Family
How would you like to have more time? Of course we all want more time. There are just two problems: 1.
Diaper Bags for Dads - Papas Got a Brand New Bag
Today's dads are more hands-on than ever before and their involvement is being rewarded with parenting gear designed with men in mind. Many items that have typically been designed for the maternal side of the parental equation are now being introduced in masculine styles, colors, and fabrics, including diaper bags, baby carriers, and strollers.
Finding Answers to Underachievement
Finding answers to a child's underachievement is often a difficult and complex process. Let intuition be your guide, knowing when and how to ask the right questions.
Thirteen Values You Can Teach Through Homework
Are you a parent concerned about passing values on to your kids? Do you worry that you can't find the time, or don't know how? You don't need thirty-minute multi-media presentations! You can do it with homework. In those precious moments you spend supervising your child's homework, here are thirteen values you can subtly pass on:1) Responsibility: It's their homework, not yours, and it's them being assessed, not you.
I have been a single mom for almost 20 years. My kids were 3, 7, 12 and 14 when my ex left.
Whats Mine Is Mine
You are at the grocery store with your daughter and she pulls out her hard-earned fifty cents and begins to buy a candy. Your son is at home with his soon to be step-Dad and fifty cents is jingling in your pocket.
Registering a Birth in Scotland
Who Can Register A Birth? The child's mother or father should register the birth within 21 days. However, a father who is not married to the child's mother can only register a birth and be named on the birth certificate as the father if: he jointly signs the register with the mother, or a court has declared that he is the father, or the mother and he jointly sign a declaration available from the Registrar.
Parenting Styles - Overcoming Your Differences
If you spend any time in the parenting section of the library or your local bookstore, you will find hundreds of books on disciplining and raising your children. All the leading experts have their own ideas about what works and what doesn't.
Guide to Choosing LEGO Toys for Children
If you're looking for toys that are both fun to play with and educational for your child, LEGO toys are a very good option.LEGO toys are known worldwide as one of the best educational toys for children of all age groups.
The Importance of Mothers
Moms, did you ever question your value as a role model, caretaker, administer of hugs and Band-Aids? I think we all have in today's climate of "do more, get more, have more." Many of us work to bring home a paycheck and others work for our sanity.
Super Nanny - A Users Guide to Watching Super Nanny
There are many things to like about the television show Super Nanny that has captured the public interest in recent weeks.First, the nanny character is very likeable, if a little scary at times.
Whos Teaching Your Child About Money?
Managing money is one of the most critical skills we must master to function effectively as adults. However, public school curricula rarely address this issue directly.
|home | site map|