Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Mommy In Training

Everyday our daughter gets older. Everyday I think that it gets a little easier. Everyday I think it gets a little harder.

2 am feedings, sterilizing, and pureed foods seem like a distant memory. Each day she drools a little less (only 7 teeth to go. woot.), talks a little more, masters something new, and just by and large needs us a little less. We are not parents who will lament the passing of the infant stage, and find ourselves saying things like, "I just can't wait until she can tell us what she's thinking." (Feel free to tuck that one away to mock us with later!!)

While her physical independence is mesmerizing to watch and kind of a welcome, albeit slight, relief, I certainly have just the smallest glimpse of why people who parent adolescents say things like "Oh yeah -- raising a toddler was a piece of cake compared to this." As the parent of a toddler, its hard to fathom, but each time I have to make a decision about something major in E's life, I catch that fant vision of how the ante just keeps getting upped from here.

This weekend, Pat took away E's pacifier. He gets all the credit. I wanted to take it away when she was 10 months old, and he asked me not to. I was fine with that, assuming he took the lead on it from there. He read this post on Friday, and came home with a plan. It has been surprisingly painless for the most part. We expected to be up all night long, coaxing her back to sleep, but she surprised us by not even stirring for the first two nights she slept without it. This was welcomed by her father who was still likely to stumble in to her room at least once a few nights a week to put her beloved "pasha" back into her whimpering mouth (and then reward himself with a Fudge Round).

The first night, when Pat was trying to delicately explain to E that she would have to sleep without the pacifier, I had to leave the room. I felt this amazing amount of sadness and dread. It had little to do with the pacifier. I never really intended for her to have one at all, let alone for 21 months of her life. But I just had this terrible feeling of "This is the beginning..." This is the beginning of having to take things away, to protect her from stuff she doesn't want to be protected from, of having to make decision for her that she is not able (or mature enough) to make on her own. And who the hell am I to think I know what the right decision is. Most days its all I can do to convince myself to eat something other than cookies for lunch, let alone make sound decisions for another person.

Yeah, I get so excited when she joys independent play, but maybe what I should really look forward to is her indepedent thinking.

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