This Too Shall Pass

When Maya was an infant, the baby books said that if you want your child to go to sleep easily every night, put them in their crib full, clean, dry, burped, and slightly awake. Be careful what bedtime routines you start, because the child will associate them with bedtime, and while you may enjoy rocking your child to sleep at bedtime every night, you may not wish to do it every time the baby wakes up during the night, often every 2 or 3 hours. What they don’t tell you is that they will soon grow out of the phase of wanting to be rocked to sleep, and you will miss it dearly. Doesn’t so much FEEL like you’re going to miss it, when you’re exhausted, sleep deprived, and craving a few minutes of grown up time before you both pass out, plus there’s a pile of dishes in the kitchen, and gosh, you want that baby to get to sleep. And again, at 2, at 4, and at 6, you may want the child to go easily back to sleep after being fed, burped, and changed. So you learn to hold back on the rocking. I remember one day, my MIL was rocking Maya to sleep, and one of us said, ‘we don’t want her to get used to being rocked to sleep all of the time’ (my MIL watched Maya a few days a week for us, and would rock Maya to sleep at nap time every day)…my MIL replied that we would miss these times, that they grow up so quickly. You know what? She was right. Maya’s been too big to rock to sleep for a long time, and she’s the kind of kid who enjoyed it beyond the age that some kids will permit cuddles. You know what else? She didn’t come to associate being rocked to sleep at nap time by her Ma to bedtime at home, and she never confused our bedtime songs with the middle of the night wake-ups.

Another time, I mentioned to my mom that I was worried that we were feeding Maya too much baby food from a jar, instead of getting her more used to eating ‘adult’ food. It seemed to me that we were being lazy in this area, but it was what she preferred, and gosh, so easy to pop open a jar of food and not have to worry about when the adult meal would be ready. My mom said, “Don’t worry, I’m sure she’s grow out of it by the time she’s 35.” Her way of telling me that this too shall pass. And you know what? It did. And Maya is one of the least picky eaters I’ve ever met. When I went to lunch with a Republican last week (my joke for when my friend Janet comes to town and we go out for a fancy lunch downtown), Maya was out of school, and joined us. We dined on tuna tartar, mussels, leg of lamb, green beans, and chocolate souffle. The only thing she didn’t love was the green beans, but then, she rarely likes green beans. She’s more of a broccoli girl, but they didn’t have that on the menu.

More recently, I’ve been perturbed to see that she wasn’t telling time as well as I thought she could. She did fine at school, and as long as a clock had numbers on it, she was OK. But when it came to clocks with no numbers, or Roman numerals, she was stumped. Seemed to me I could read these kinds of clocks well before 6th grade, so I was kind of frustrated. But I hoped that my mom’s advice would apply, and she would learn to read any old clock by the time she turned 35. And lo and behold, middle school seems to have cured her. Perhaps those long hours of staring at the clock, wondering when she’ll get out of class, etc., has done the trick. The other day, she was talking on the phone to her BFF, and she glanced at our clock, with its Roman numerals, and very casually said the time. And I thought, wow, she’s only 11 1/2….that’s at least 22 years early.

All of these thoughts were triggered by a post over at Teeny Manolo, where Glinda brought up the beauty of Velcro shoes, and how some people worry that their children will never progress to tying their own shoes, and thus will be forever stunted in proper child development. So though Maya didn’t tie her shoes as quickly as I did, or tell time, it’s because she didn’t need to do either very often. She certainly learned them well before her 35th birthday. In fact, she learned them when she needed to have those skills and apply them to her life.

To every thing there is a season…rocking your child to sleep, food from a jar, having trouble telling time, even Velcro shoes. Whatever joys or frustrations we go through as parents, we must remember that this phase will end, and either take that message as a lesson to cherish precious times, or a hope that this time will indeed end, and must only be borne for a little while longer (I’m thinking specifically of Maya’s 5 months of colic on that one).

This too shall pass.Β  Whether we like it or not.

Today I should call my sisters and wish them a Happy Birthday!Β  Happy Birthday, Maya and Melissa!

18 thoughts on “This Too Shall Pass

  1. A very happy birthday to your sisters!

    When you’re in the middle of an experience it seems like it’ll never end, but it does. That’s where folks need to live in the moment more.

  2. It does seem like it’ll never end when you’re in the thick of it, but it does pass and become memories that become fun to recount. πŸ™‚

    And Happy Birthday to M & M!

  3. Excellent post. I think you’re so right about it all. This too shall apply to my current bedbug. Time does go by too fast. Well said, well written. πŸ™‚

  4. I wish I’d learned these lessons a little earlier. I miss sitting and cuddling w/ autumn at night. We did it til she was too old to fit in my lap.

    So, Autumn calling me MOTHER in THAT tone..this too shall pass?? I effing hope so.

  5. What an excellently written post (and an excellent tie into Teeny Manolo)!

    The bit about Maya having a hard time reading a clock reminds me that I couldn’t read time from a digital clock, because I understood the clock hand positions but didn’t understand the numbers. Being taught about the big hand and the little hand didn’t translate to hh:mm to me at all! But I figured it out eventually πŸ˜‰

  6. I rocked Mr. P to sleep long after most people would have stopped. I also lay down with him as he fell asleep, he needed to know that someone was there. EVERYONE kept telling me I was setting myself up for horrible problems and that he would never be able to sleep alone, blabbity blah. I was also very strict about a betime routine that never wavered.

    Well, I have a son who falls alseep beautifully by himself and never fights going to bed.

    Moms need to sometimes listen to their inner voice a bit more, instead of what everyone else tells them is the “conventional” wisdom. Because that wisdom changes over time, it never seems to stay the same.

  7. I’m not a picky eater. Neither is my husband. I thought we raised our kids the same. Our son isn’t picky. Our daughter is. Figure?

  8. thanks for a truly thoughtful post, j.

    i rocked h to sleep until he was 4. he rubbed my ear until i thought it would fall off, and i miss it!

    recently, s fell asleep in my lap and i savored almost 2 hours of my arms and legs being asleep because i knew it would probably be the last time.

    h is 9 and still can’t tie his shoes. at this point, i’m hoping it won’t hinder his chances of getting into a good college.

  9. Yes, childhood does pass in a flash, the good with the not so great.

    We trade the days of smallness and wonder for days of independence and wisdom. It’s a wonderful thing to watch, if you are paying attention.

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

  10. What a wonderful post J! You make such a good point, we really should stop to smell the roses, take in the stages, because they do pass so quickly and easily.
    Yes, L-boy is still in velcro shoes (but he’s got huge canoes, we’re starting to run out of options soon); and little G is the pickiest eater. She loves her baby jar fruit still (the only fruit she’ll eat – why fight it?), and I suspect she’ll grow out of it before she’s 35. Thanks for that!

  11. Happy Birthday to your sisters.
    Oh well, we grew up on milk and butter from the grocery stores. Some of our parents had to go to the cow and milk it then make the butter. Every generation has new challenges.

  12. Great post, J. I can definitely relate to the frustrations and concerns, but I learned early on not to put too much emphasis on milestone charts. Every time I would worry, Connor would up and do what I was concerned about. Seems like one day I was nursing him and he was fitting in the crook of my arm, and the next, he was trying to run through the door at every chance he got.

    I agree, every phase will pass, but some fly by way quickly than others.

    Hope your sisters had a wonderful birthday!

  13. I like that idea a lot. I sort of gave myself the similar slack; I told myself that all of our kids will probably do some time on the therapist’s couch, so I decided to enjoy motherhood as it was happening and save for the therapy on the side.

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