While I was pregnant I read everything about the development of the fetus that I could get my hands on, I wanted to know what my little bean was doing, even though I couldn’t see her. In my last trimester I began to read about babies and how I would actually take care of this little bean once she emerged. For the first six months of her life I kept track of how she was doing compared to what the books said she should be doing. This was pretty helpful, but there were tugs of anxiety as she was doing some things that the books said she should be doing but not doing all of the things that the books said she might be doing.
She has always been robust and healthy, good color, good muscle tone, no excessive crying or frightening other health concerns. So I mostly tried to push things out of my head. Trying not to stress out about whether or not she could roll over, and just being happy that she was healthy, she will roll in her own time. If other babies were bigger or sitting before or crawling before Emma I tried not to think about it. From about six to eight months we were traveling and I really didn’t have time to stress out about Emma’s development. I stopped reading the books.
I haven’t picked them back up.
And it’s been great.
The other day I had plunked her down on my bedroom floor so I could get dressed. I looked over and she had a Kleenex box in between her chubby baby legs and was gleefully ripping the poor tissues limb from limb. I stopped, watched the carnage ensue and thought about whether or not I should stop her,
“Eh, what the heck, atleast she’s busy and happy,” while I hate to see the wasting of good tissue (hey, that stuff costs money) I had the chance to get my pants on without her crying and trying to crawl up my leg. (With this image you ask, ‘how does one get pants on with a baby crawling up your leg?’ All I can say is that it ain’t pretty.)
I guess what I am trying to say is that every now and then parenthood has forced me to let go. Instead of comparing Emma to every baby around her and making sure she came out on top, making me a better mother, of course, I have chosen to let her do things at her own pace and just be happy when she does them. Instead of wrenching the box of tissue away from her and saying ‘no,’ I let her rip away. She’s a baby after all, to her that’s just plain fun. She got to explore a new texture and I got to get dressed without feeling guilty for my selfish need to wear clothing. (That’s right, people, motherhood makes you feel guilty about wearing clothing. How? You ask. When you put the child down to get dressed and she starts screaming as if you have abandoned her to gypsies, then you’ll know.)
I still managed to get in my resourcefulness and almost compulsive need to recycle, for the next few days I kept the pile of Kleenex carnage in my room and would plunk her down in front of it whenever I needed to do anything in my room. It was great.