Sunday, July 30, 2006

My Mother Lesson No. 2,754: Drop the Preconceived Notions

You have a mental vision of what your child is going to be, don't you? Or was it just me? Maybe me worse than others, as poor Eric probably has to live up to what my mental vision of a husband is supposed to be. And my dreaming about a girl...well, let's just say the fates are gonna be guffawing.

She started out, as you all have known by now, a little slower and smaller than other babies. She is still significantly smaller. Yesterday we visited the mall with the dual purpose of some sale shopping and allowing strangers to admire Olivia, her favorite pasttime. We found Olivia some shoes and my little girl--one year old in less than a month--barely fit the six-month sized shoes I purchased.

Diminutive? Yes. Little sweet docile pumpkin that she started out as? Not so much. Olivia's favorite thing to do is now treat our bed like a mosh pit and dive head first everywhere. Her little legs will not even sit still while eating, vibrating like a little humingbird. Her favorite words are duck, table
(because of this table in her room that I made: can you absolutely believe it Debbie?) and, accompanied by a vehement shaking of the head, "NO."

"Olivia, come here." "NO."
"Olivia, want a kiss?" "NO."
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. (As I typed this she just looked down at her terrier-clad feet and said "shoe". Then, "NO", head-shaking, and attempting shoe-removal.)

Olivia is turning out to be exceedingly verbal and observant. She touches an object and looks at me quizzically and lifts her arms to say, "What is this?" An answer of the object's name produces a sophisticated chuckle and you can see her load the information away. She is rougher than Jake was as an infant. She doesn't like to cuddle, has never ever tolerated being cradled in your arms, prefering from as little as two months old to be held facing outward, observing the world and avoiding that smothering affection.

Who would have thought Jake would turn out to be my sweet little cuddle monster?

I am reminded yet again that children are who they are, not who you expect them to be. I am surprised that I am actually having to relearn this: I already have a child (and friends, and family, and co-workers, all who have their own personalities) so there is no excuse of naivete. And at the same time, I am being educated on exactly how much Jake was exactly what I pictured in an infant and toddler.

Jake comes home tonight from his ten days away, and I think I'll share my new insight with him. As he demands that I snuggle with him before bed tonight, I am going to of course oblige. And tell him that he is everything a mother could want in a little boy. I think he'd like to know. He'd probably appreciate my spending more time thinking about that than about all the ways he isn't what I'd like him to be.

And if you already know this lesson, I'm glad for you. I don't mind admitting I'm behind.

1 comment:

Walter said...

A wise blog.