My husband and I like to snuggle with our kid, and when the moment is right, we’ll rock her and say, “My baby girl.”
On the rare occasion when she is sleepy or not feeling well, she’ll go with it.
More and more, though, the response is “not your baby.”
Record scratch. The kid isn’t even
30 months old 2 ½ yet.
We’ve been going through her assertion of independence as a two-year-old child, but no one told me she was going to outgrow being my baby while she was still in diapers.
Do I want my daughter to grow up to be a strong, smart, bold individual who creates positive change in the lives of those around her? Of course!
I also want her to still be my baby.
I’ve read about:
- Giving her choices by not posing things as questions
- Using feeling words to help her learn how to express herself
- Taking full advantage of the numerous opportunities a parent has to practice patience and mindfulness
- And on and on
But there has been nothing to prepare me for this outright declaration of her not being my baby.
To put some salve on my wounds I will go out in search of friends who’ve recently had babies so I can smell that new baby smell. I’ll bribe friends with their favorite coffee treat, and while they enjoy holding a cup with two hands, I’ll sit there and kind of practice meditative breathing, every inhale full of the beautiful newborn smell that goes away too quickly, as the memories of my own child’s scent fade with every passing day. I know “new baby smell” is a thing because people on the internet talk about it and I have a co-worker who didn’t look at me like I was crazy during our last department meeting.
Puppy breath is a close second when a newborn baby is unavailable.
Perhaps her dad and I are asking the wrong question. I am 100% certain there is no confusion about what the word “baby” means. She correctly identifies them in public, in books, and cartoons. What question do we ask instead? Or maybe I just need to roll with it, as I’ve been doing, and appreciate her already fiercely independent attitude—in which case I guess I should be insanely proud of her and my wicked awesome parenting skills.
In the meantime, when my kid declares she wants kisses because something hurts, I am happy to give them. If my hand simply resting on her scabbed knee makes her feel better in the car, I will contort myself into a pretzel.
Any display (well, almost) of her need for my attention will be met with appreciation of the fact that I am still good for something besides filling her water bottle.
I’ll tell you a secret she doesn’t know, though. She’s still our baby.