Every day I learn something new about being a mom. Today is no different.
This morning I took Liam to a Baby Praise class at our church. Honestly, I've been a little hesitant to go to something like this with him because I wasn't sure how he'd act, or how I'd handle it if he wouldn't sit still. Even after 18 months I find that I’m still timid in social situations such as these; I picture the worst-case scenario that Liam will cause a scene, and I’ll be that mom hauling her screaming, kicking, red-in-the-face child out the door tucked under one arm.
|Greeting the ladies. He's quite the charmer.|
Wow, there’s so much about being a new mom that frightens me! I’m mostly a by-the-book person, but I have yet to find a manual for how to raise the unique child I have. When I first had Liam, I expected being a mom of a toddler to be just like my mom described the early years with my brother and me. According to her, we were sweet and quiet, obedient, inquisitive but not fussy, easy to handle. (She must have selective memory!) My goal up until this point has been to replicate that experience, but surprisingly (or not so surprisingly), Liam is a very different child than I was. And instead of recognizing him for who he is, I’ve been fighting a losing battle of trying to turn him into the ideal toddler.
I used to think that behind every child who threw a tantrum was a parent who was also out of control. Children who obeyed (even at 18 months) were not born that way; they were taught. I’m learning, though, that perhaps that’s not always the case. It takes longer with some children, especially stubborn ones like mine. It's a process, and while he's made so much progress in learning self-control and is a delight in so many ways, he's not going to learn it all in one day. And I could afford to ease up a little without turning our kid into a monster.
So I eased up. I chose to view the class through the eyes of a curious little explorer instead of a strict parent. I let him run around with the other kids instead of insisting that he sit by my side and pay attention to the songs like a "good little boy." You know what? It was a joy to see him come alive! Yes, there were a couple of moments where he ran off and then resisted when I brought him back to the group, but he wasn't the only one. We fit right in and had a blast!
Liam is strong-willed. I wasn’t. He’s definitely NOT shy. I was. He doesn’t hesitate to express his emotions. I wasn’t that way. He is all boy, and I was all girl. My name even means “discretion.” His means “strong-willed warrior.” He’s not me. And instead of letting that be a constant source of frustration and confusion, I should embrace the unique qualities in him that will undoubtedly yield a strong leader one day. He’s his own magnificent little person, and I was inspired to give him room to be the vivacious little man that he is.