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. Whether we like it or not.
Today I should call my sisters and wish them a Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday, Maya and Melissa!