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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Walking (away)

All three of my kids are very different.

Devon was fearless.  He crawled early.  He walked relatively early.  He wanted to MOVE.  And he did NOT want help.  And he did NOT care if Daddy and Mommy were impressed.  He DID however want to impress a very pretty girlfriend of one of our friends.  His first “real” by himself steps were toward here.  No joke.  It was then I knew I was in trouble.  He’s always been a sucker for pretty blonds.  He also has always resented having anyone hold his hand or explain things to him.  Show him once and then leave him to figure it out on his own.  Don’t hover.  Don’t stand guard.  And for pity’s sake, don’t go into long winded explanations.  He’s learned to tolerate that from me, but only in the sense that he tunes out and then goes merrily on his way to do whatever he is going to do as soon as I’ve left his presence.

When Sebastian was learning to walk, he never let go.  Never.  He really hated even pulling up on things.  He also hated TDO and I trying to coax or bribe him.  If we tried pulling him up to a standing position by holding on to his hands or when he was holding our fingers, he’d curl his legs up and absolutely REFUSE to stand upright.  His first steps were purely miraculous and unbelievable.  It was his brother’s birthday - I recall because it would be like Sebastian to steal Devon’s glory.  I had huge throw pillows that the boys used to roll around on or sit on to watch TV.  He pulled several together, of his own accord, and then crawled to the center and when he was sure everyone was watching (after Devon announced, “LOOK WHAT BABY BASTIAN IS DOING!”) he went from sitting to standing without pulling up on anything or without using his hands, except to hold them out to his side for balance.  We were dumb founded, but that lasted only moments before he walked off the pillows and just started trotting around the house as if he’d always been walking.

Jenica was absolutely phobic of movement.  She was content to cuddle next to my chest and be held and cuddled and cradled.  She liked being upright.  She hated tummy time, so she never properly learned to crawl, but rather did a bouncy scoot while sitting which took her from place to place.  It was absurd to watch and caused much concern from friends and family.  “Is that normal?  Is she (insert whatever diagnosis)?”  The doctor assured me that she was perfectly normal, just stubborn, and that she’d be the type of child to do things her way in her time, but that as unconventional as her methods might be, she’d get where she was going - literally and figuratively.  She walked very, very late.  She clung to me.  She always wanted to hold my hand.  She always wanted me near her.  In the end, I had to trick her into walking by chasing her around the spiral stairs and among her delighted squeals she forgot to keep one hand firmly braced on the staircase and she started running.  When she realized she was walking without holding on to anything, she burst into tears and clung to me for a good long while.  After that, she got brave and started hesitant trips without clinging to anything more and more frequently.  (As she should have done six or eight months before!)

Now I’m faced with a different sort of child and a different sort of attitude.  This child has no intentions of impressing anyone.  This child doesn’t care what others think.  This child is much more willful and much less cautious.  There is no hand holding.  There is no tolerance for explanations.  There are no chances to show or teach.  No.  This child has grown into a willful teenager before its time.  It has never truly learned to walk.  It understands that it wants to.  It knows that it needs to.  But it is headed full force toward busy oncoming traffic and I do not want to watch.  I’ve spent too long trying to grasp and hands and offered words of caution and I’m tired.  The time as come to let this child of mine run free, and figure things out.  Hopefully.  I fear not.  For while the risk of being hit by a car is very real, still the odds favor this willful child and the chances are, it’ll be able to continue recklessly on until its final demise or until a stronger, more suitable parent is willing to step in and guide.

So I fear I am going to give in my resignation.  It’s past time and I know it.  I’ve been told this for far too long.  And yeah, satisfied smirks and nods and “I told you so’s” really won’t go far with me, so don’t bother. 

I have loved this child and wanted the best for it.  I can’t help it - it’s in my nature to nurture, even when my attempts are spat upon.  But I’m tired.  And I’m done.  And clearly, this child is done with me.  So let the cards play out and the chips fall where they may, I’m folding and walking away before things turn ugly.  I sincerely hope that moving aside will allow the freedom this child apparently needs to grow and thrive.  That would make my own failures less bitter, at least.

Posted by Liberty on 04/10 at 04:54 AM
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Pooka Pooka  at  04/10/10 06:27 AM

I wonder if we’ll be following along behind you one day…
Something that’s been on my mind on occasion.

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