Monday, June 6

pushing out

There comes a time that sort of sneaks up on you. Even if you have, subconsciously or otherwise, requested it on those crazy busy loud days, it still takes you by surprise.

At some point, your baby is no more, your toddler has snuck away, and you have in front of you a little girl or boy. And their growth and maturity surprises you daily, but you expected that.

What you forgot to prepare for was the pushing and pulling away.




She still needs you - but not as much. She still wants you - but not as much. She can, do it myself. Yet she doesn't know the balance yet, because right now, around age three, it's all about testing the outer limits of life. How far she can stretch herself yet still have the security of you.

And if you were even slightly prepared for this stage, knowing that the pulling and stretching was coming, you forgot that you too were part of the dance. That the relationship was going to be stretched by both of you.

Somewhere inside, you have been growing yourself, to be ready for this stage. Perhaps we fight it, perhaps we've been crying for it, but it comes anyways.

So you seem more irritable than usual. Co-sleeping is pushing your buttons, zero tolerance on any whining or clothes pulling, annoyed at the lack of co-operation or ability - because she did this yesterday perfectly, right? - and yet another request for 'up'...... Just as she is uncertain if she wants or doesn't want, and what that want is exactly, so are you.

Are you hormonal, just plain grouchy, a bad mother?

No, you're just both ready, life is ready, - to move to the next stage of your mother-child connection. The energetic cords created at conception begin their obvious dissolution right now. It's necessary, inevitable, desirable... and painful.



Suddenly aware of what's occurring, you breathe deeper when the irritability rises, recognising it as an external sign of the internal shifting.

And you scoop her up, because the day she won't want that ever again is the next stage.


27 comments:

  1. oh i've been totally feeling this stage creep up on me since our return to america.. ezra doesn't want to hold our hand anymore when crossing the road, must open and close the car door by himself and cries if we close it ourselves... i am wondering how i'm the one who got put in the queen bed with ezra whilst my husband sleeps soundly in ezra's twin bed sidled next to our queen.... but, i am ever so grateful still when he crawls on my back when i'm laying in bed on my tummy reading and for the kisses he plants on my face when i'm least expecting them.

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  2. Fantastic post. So many little stages. I've seen lots of them with my three. And so true it is that just when they think they don't need you is when they actually need you the most.

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  3. Oh what a spot on post!

    Xavier has just turned 2 and I can just see the immediate shift in him. I could see that it was time to move on from the breastfeeding, but I had to help him to stop it, otherwise I would have been holding him back from moving to the next phase.

    Sometimes we have to be the ones to uplift our children, they don't automatically know that it is time to move on.

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  4. I love your new banner, btw!!

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  5. LURVE that banner...how wickedly cool that those nuts are so very uterine..;)

    ah yes....i *feel* this. bittersweet, it is. but it does make way for a whole new dynamic...one that is just as fulfilling and exasperating and marvelous.

    although, i must say, my 8 year old still likes/needs 'up' from time to time.

    xo

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  6. Ohhhh yes, this. I recognize her side of it. But mine? Wow, I never really thought of it this way -- my role, my changes. Thank you for sharing these beautiful thoughts.

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  7. I absolutely love this - it's so very freeing! I often feel guilty for wishing a certain stage would end, but looking at these feelings as just a part of the dance is far less guilt-inducing.

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  8. Uhm-huhm. I love that you bring it back to relationship. Otherwise it's just power struggle, yeah? These crossroads are full of feeling like you're losing something all mixed up with the uncertainty and excitement of what's to come. My daughter is at those crossroads again (at 14). It's awkward and painful. I suddenly don't know who she is or, like you said, who I am in relation to her. Change is required. I've read (Steiner) that it's essential for a young person to cut the cord with the mother in order to individuate. I feel the truth in that, along with something else that I'm not sure how to express.... I don't think it's a matter of cutting the cord. With people you have a relationship with, there are always these threads (even after death). Maybe it's just a change in the dynamics of this interweaving....

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  9. yes, in psychology it's also considered a cutting off. i see it as many threads, each very specific. at age 3 one dissolves. age 7 and age 12-14 are also biggies.

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  10. Aw this makes me cry a little bit

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  11. Great post Mon!!! That phase in my (or 'our' - my son and I) life is long gone. Whe grew into another contact (?) and understanding instead, which is as beautiful - or maybe even more...

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  12. Beautiful post Mon, and rings oh so true. Aoife and I are entering into a new dynamic again now and are at constant loggerheads as a result, so this was a very timely post.

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  13. Lovely! So true. And it keeps going on and on like that for years. New frustrations, challenges, so big and yet so small. It is an amazing thing to watch, and I can feel the why of mothers existence everywhere!

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  14. Love this. It is life. The push and pull of wanting to be needed and learning to let go. It's the hardest part of being a mother, letting the energy flow, and not needing to control it. Sometimes it beats us up, sometimes it lets us absorb it all gently. Beautifully said.

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  15. Beautiful. I see this happening already with my oldest nephew, age 5. The others won't be far behind...

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  16. Oh, that last line makes me cry!

    I am so feeling this right now. So exactly this. How did it come so soon?? Yes, parts of it are nice...that he can play by himself and give me some space...but at the same time I find myself wanting to spend MORE time with him because I don't want him to stretch too far from me. I want to remind him that we still have a connection, that I'm here for him, that a cuddle feels good, that mama can be fun...

    He's going to preschool this fall. I can hardly believe it. If he wasn't obviously ready for it, I would keep him home with me. It's a little scary to me what preschool will bring...more of this pulling away from me? Will definitely be doing more activities together the days he's home.

    And oh, yes, I am just happy to hold him almost any time he asks these days...almost like I need it as much as he does...

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  17. We're right there, thank you for this insight and perspective, it helps, A LOT.

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  18. Wow. You've captured this stage beautifully and poignantly, Mon. And, I love these pictures of your Wildflower. Gorgeous.

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  19. OHH you nearly had me in tears there - so incredibly true and amazingly put - I have a 5 year old and remember this like yesterday, and can almost see it happening with the 2.5 year old. Ahhh - thanks for that:O) And thanks for stopping by my blog so I could find yours - I love it xxx

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  20. Those stages do sneak up on you. Their neediness (even as teens) does emerge again at times and mama is there. Beautiful post, Mon.

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  21. i love that first photo, so much spirit contained in that one little shot! in that one little person, wonderful.

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  22. beautifully captured. i'm finally being put to the test of how i will truly be with ("discipline") my child. the past few weeks have been so challenging that i've decided to spend less time on my business and more on being present for Z. i must admit that it's much more painful to be aware of the source of my irritation..but it's all growth, and with a lot of humor thrown in, it's where i find grace.

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  23. You have spoken to my heart. And you have brought me to tears. Beautifully written. My son James is almost 3 and we are pushing, pulling, and holding on for dear life, every moment of every day. Thank you for helping me let it go but at the same time, pick up! Your so wonderful. Thank you so very much for this, and so much more. xoxo Samantha

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  24. Thank you so much for this post - it is exactly where we are at with our eldest and it is such a help x

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  25. Have you heard the song 'Eagles' by Terri Hendrix? There's a little bit in the song that chokes me every time....I hear her voice falter just a little and I too cannot sing that lyric without my voice tightening - the song is about the parent letting go of their child so they can soar like an eagle.... It's so beautiful. I heard it on Putumayo Animal Playground.

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  26. Tears over here! Our Z is approaching three. He loves the cuddles and Mama time but is already reaching the edge of independence, loving to do things himself. I cherish every precious moment. I don't want him to grow so fast but dare not hold him back. Perfect words. Thank you.

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