Rather than the end of the year introspection leading to depression or self deprecation (which I do plenty of), I am encouraged by this post to relish in my shining moments of parenting from 2009. I have found that the moments when I'm needed most as purely mother, I am needed in a calm and quiet kind of way. By purely mother, I mean something other than playmate, personal chef, waiter, bather, cleaner, et c. Not the practical side of life; the intimate, nurturing mother role. The role that really only I can play. There are plenty of people who can play with my girls. Even more who could cook for them. A handful with the ability to serve them well. Almost anyone could clean them and clean up after them. But only I can be their mother. The intimate connection we have is hard to articulate, but I can say with confidence that they feel it too.
December 31, 2009
So, when I'm needed most as purely mother, I am needed in a calm quiet manner. I don't need to flood them with "I love you, I love you, I love you" and "It will be alright, darling." They don't need that so much right now as just a calm and quiet presence. I've found with my girls that I speak volumes with my silence.
Margot loves to interact with people. When there is another person in the room, she is excessively aware and keenly tuned into his posture, actions, words, everything! So when we are around lots of people for long periods of time, it can become a bit overwhelming for her. Plenty of toddlers her age don't give a care for other people. I don't mean to say that either mode is good or bad. I'm just pointing out that it's not merely the way of toddlers.
Picture Margot loving the company of many. After a couple of hours she starts to show signs of aggression and crankiness. I know she needs a small snack and a small break. I get her a glass of milk and decide I will just cart her upstairs to have a moment of quiet. She's raging.
I lay on the bed and try to sit her next to me. She wants nothing to do with it. Screaming and kicking and generally fighting against me. I finally let her go but I tell her she must not leave the room. She runs to the corner screaming and pounding on the wall.
I'm thinking that I know just what she needs at this moment. How to get her to understand that was, for a moment, beyond me.
I realize she just needs to come on her own without any more words from me. I decide I will just lie on the floor, place the glass of milk beside me, close my eyes and be silent. I do this. Within 60 seconds she's lying still and quietly tucked in close beside me and drinking her milk. She drinks slowly and finishes. Lying for another 30 seconds or so (which is like 10 minutes in toddler time), she is healed. She pops up and says, "Fank you, mama, for the milk." Hugs me. Exits.
--Margot mothering quietly--