Kinda Crunchy Mom

May 4, 2008

Walking the line

Filed under: Uncategorized — by mcadmom @ 10:33 am

I think we’ve hit a milestone this week.  Olivia refuses to wear a diaper to bed.  The first night was Thursday, and, even though I was worried about the obvious consequence, I let her anyway.  How could I say no?  She looked at me with soupy eyes and said, “Wear undies like Mommy do?”  Besides–sheets wash, right?

The first two nights went well–she woke in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.  Then this morning I woke her up only to find her totally dry–she made it through the night!!  I’m sure there will be many accidents in our future, both day and night, but I think we’ve turned a corner, potty-wise.

This is such a strange time for all of us.  Olivia is teetering on the border between toddlerhood and girlhood, and it is exhilarating, frightening and nauseating, all at once.  Yesterday at the park, she wanted to climb up this inverted ladder thing (basically an arc of u-shaped “steps” that leads up to the top of the structure, the arcs are several inches apart and it goes up about 8 feet).  At the top is a gap between the platform and the top rung.  After I helped her up the first time, she slid down the slide and ran back to this ladder.  This time, though, she looked me straight on and said, “Mom, don’t watch me.  Stop watching” and she turned and started to climb.  I was no longer Mommy or Mama, but “Mom”, said in that eye-rolling 13-going-on-25 way,  and my help was not wanted.  I sat on the bench and tried not to look like I was watching. 

The truth is, I am a fraidy-cat.  Every time she neared the top, I felt sick.  From my vantage point, all I could see were the tops of her shoes, and, oh, the fear.  It is always this way.  I spend so much of my time trying to keep her safe that it is physically painful to let go.  She dances on that line between being a toddler and being a little girl so gracefully, and all I can do is watch and hold my breath, hoping that she does not get hurt.

I spend a lot of energy trying not to let on how afraid I am because I want Olivia to keep as much of her confidence and bravery as she can.  Given the world we live in, I know she’ll need it.  Sometimes I feel like maybe I give her too much freedom–I let her play in the stream behind our house without water shoes, she walks barefoot on our gravel driveway, I let her look at bees close-up, she pets strange dogs at the park (okay–only the small ones on leashes).  She drinks out of glasses and eats on regular plates, we let her try to climb trees, and she even drives the mower (on Jamie’s lap).  We open her up to a lot of potential “dangers”.

But I know I can’t keep danger at bay.  Even bigger than the danger of going barefoot is the danger of paralysis from fear.  I want her to have that inner security that lets her try things regardless of how scared she may be.  I don’t her to inherit my fears any more that I want her to inherit my pain–unfortunately she will develop both on her own anyway.  The truth is, she will have some bones broken, she will have her heart broken, and after a certain point, I will have to stand by and watch.

I crept under the slide so I could watch her closer and I glimpsed her face as she neared the top of the structure.  It was breathtaking and beautiful to see her concentrate.  As she stretched out her foot to reach the top platform, she glanced at me and smiled, then focused back on her task.  When she reached the top, I knew by the look on her face that she is ready for bigger challenges than the ones within my comfort zone.  She is ready to climb on her own.

Our lives are twined right now, but Olivia is slowly and gingerly pulling away.  That scares both of us, I think.

When we got home, Olivia wanted to sit in the rain with her umbrella.

She sat on the steps for a long time, “just thinking”, she said.  When she came in she asked for jammies with feet and she fell asleep in my arms. 


1 Comment »

  1. Di, Olivia looks so adorable in all of these pics.

    This is going to be an amazing way to keep memories for her.

    Her ‘Baby Book’ will be this Blog- So Cool 🙂

    Comment by mommy2mygirlz — May 4, 2008 @ 10:21 pm |Reply

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