Trust him.

Respect him. ⁣

Observe him. ⁣

Listen to him. ⁣

Ceremoniously slow. ⁣

Wait. ⁣

Breathe. ⁣

Soften. ⁣

He’s not giving you a hard time, he’s having a hard time. ⁣

We are on the same team. ⁣

Don’t react, respond. ⁣

He’s only little once. ⁣

Remember how old he is. ⁣

Do with, as opposed to do to. ⁣

You are here to help, not make it worse. ⁣

You do have time for this. ⁣

This is what matters. ⁣

Set limits early. ⁣

When you know better, you can do better. ⁣

This is an opportunity to connect. ⁣

What need is he communicating?⁣

Where is he coming from?⁣

Talk aloud what’s happened.⁣

This is not an emergency. ⁣

I am where I need to be. ⁣

This is age appropriate. ⁣

Treat him how you’d like to be treated. ⁣

Share your calm, don’t join the chaos. ⁣

Acknowledge the inner delight. ⁣

See the effort, voice the effort. ⁣

Be consistent. ⁣

It’s not personal. ⁣

I am here. ⁣

I hear you. ⁣

Your words today will become his inner voice tomorrow. ⁣

He’s doing his best. ⁣

Hours are long, but the years are short. ⁣

It’s harder for him than it is for me. ⁣

Let feelings be, they don’t belong to me. ⁣

Be who you want him to be.

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Maybe I’ve got it.

I can’t pretend for a single second to know what the fresh hell I’m doing as a mom…

…but when a kid lets both parents laze around on the living room floor for three hours (with their heads buried in books) as he very contently plays and explores on his own all around them, happy as a clam?

I want to then believe I’m at least doing something right.

(Now, have a photo of him intensely playing with my hair-tie like it was the absolute greatest thing since sliced bread, lol.)

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He is who he is, and I am who I am.

Since the day he was born, I have parented O based on two principles: respect and trust. They are small words, but they are profound words. Words that in times of uncertainty and unease, have helped lead the way… and in times of strength and joy, words that have been enthusiastically celebrated.

Respecting and trusting a two month old, a six month old, a fourteen month old, a whatever month old — it looks a lot like this. It is fundamentally different than the ways many babies and toddlers are raised, yes, but it is beautiful. I haven’t been perfect about it (when it came to getting O to sleep, I /had/ to let some of it go), but it’s meant so much to me to try and be with it’s premises as much as I could.

This means that I didn’t do tummy time with O until he was able to discover it on his own. I honoured his timeline, and I had the mantra of “in-time”, NOT “on-time”, on repeat in my head. This wasn’t the Olympics, and he’d eventually find where he needed to be. Heck, come the start of kindergarten, he’d be running around and causing a ruckus just like every other kid there. There felt no need to rush it.

It slowly became apparent that O would be taking the long way around as a means to development of his gross motor skills, however. At six months he rolled into his tummy. At seven months he rolled onto his back. He is still a bit funny about doing both, however. At 12 months he mastered sitting on his own (yes, you read that right). And just today, at 14 months, I witnessed him get from his tummy to a sitting position for the first time ever. I was so, so, SO happy to be there to witness it, surgery bruises and all.

Now, and because you’re probably wondering, he has yet to crawl (though he does some fierce, exploratory circles on his tummy), yet to stand and yet to walk. And you know what? It’s taken me a long time to say this, despite how deep my intentions were in respect and trust, but it’s gonna be okay. It really, truly is.

As anxiety is wont to do, there have been times aplenty that I have struggled. Did I cause his delay? Should I have pushed him anyways? Is it my fault he currently has the gross motor capabilities of a 6-9 month old? Should I have listened to the naysayers who told me differently? Have I been stubborn and foolhardy for my gain alone? Insert doubt after doubt after doubt.

Do you know how hard is to to watch a kid half your child’s age do things that they cannot? Or the heart wrench at yearning for their freedom and independence of movement as they howl in frustration for the umpteenth about not being able to reach something just outside their grasp? The wanting of so much more for them, and for them to be like all the other toddlers in that last play date you attended, but knowing you are powerless. Insert worry after worry after worry.

But you know what?

I listened to him. I honoured his choices. I let him guide the way. I did what was in my heart. I was lead by a gentle, slow and patient love that believed tremendously in respecting and trusting him. And as he now gets extra, special help from various specialists so that he can learn more, I continue to do all of those things everyday and always. This is no ones fault. It is simply how the cards laid.

He is who he is, and I am who I am. And at the end of the day, week, month and year, we’re gonna be okay.

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Frankly, I don’t have my shit together.

I keep expecting to one day wake up and know what the hell I’m doing in this life of motherhood.

I’ve got the bases of loving, trusting and respecting my child down pat, and I fiercely strive to protect those bases.

Yet the other, more tangible, situational, organizational, numerical and implementation-al aspects of feeding, bathing, clothing, “resting”, socializing, outings and childcare (yes, even that) are a total shit show.

I feel like the antithesis of not having my shit together in those realms.

But hey, my kid is happy!? I think…

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A canvas for watching darkness and light.

Oh man, I’m totally nerding out right now. With O, I try my best to practice something called mindful parenting (more commonly known as RIE). I discovered it in school and putting it to use now makes so much wonderful, heart-happy sense to me. Anyways, I follow a FB parent group of parents who share a similar interest in RIE and people often post to it sharing their observations, struggles and/or triumphs. Yesterday, I posted this to it’s wall and a lot of people loved it… but not only that, one of the main ‘flag bearers’ of RIE these days, Janet Lansbury, liked it and asked if she could share. UM, YES! Our little guy is now famous, lol! Or my whimsical shenanigans are. One of the two.

Observe, wait, trust, and enjoy! A lovely example of the power of nature… indoors!

Sarah shared her success:

“Thank you, RIE! Five minutes before taking this photo I was thinking to myself that I needed to find something to fill this space in my LO’s room. I then noticed him looking at it too, however, and realized he was intently watching the shadows dance across the wall from the swaying trees outside the window. Before, I might have thought him bored, but for forty five minutes he kept coming back to the sight, becoming very still as he watched the moving shapes and silhouettes bounce across the wall. Eventually, the sun moved on and as did his interest… but it seems this space already has exactly what it needs: a canvas for watching darkness and light.”

Here’s a link for those on Facebook.

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