So a little while ago, Mel at Stirrup Queens wrote this very poignant (isn't she always?) post about the hurts we want to protect our children from. It got me thinking.
I posted a reply about how as a mother of a toddler, one of the first words out of my mouth is quite often 'careful'. "Careful, baby..." or "watch out…" But more often just the one word, careful.
A friend of mine, a fellow stay-at-home-mom said it was better than saying no all the time. I have to admit that I do tell her that as well. Through usually it's framed through a request or simple stated reason: "Please come down from there," or, "No, you already had a snack, it's almost dinner time." But sometimes I just say no. Usually by the end of the day when reasoning with a two year old is too tiring.
I think about my predilection for telling her to be careful and I know all parents must tell their children that, but for me, the worry behind the word is that my girl, my baby, will get hurt. Or something terrible will happen that I can't fix. Because you know, I've been there before.
Echoes of loss.
The more I thought about it, the more I wondered if parents who had lost a child (during pregnancy, from stillbirth or from illness) or had a a lot of difficulty having one were more over-protective than those who conceived and gave birth in the usual straightforward manner. There's probably a bunch of articles I could find on the subject, but for now, I'm quite happy with my own personal musings.
Have you seen that Grey's Anatomy episode where the girl came in and had shattered tons of bones in her body and her friends ditched her to go off and continue their amazing travels, leaving the girl all alone? She was too scared to call her mom and let her know what happened because her mother had told her she had made her from scratch and the mother wouldn't be able to handle it.
I think a lot, if not all mothers feel this way. All those weeks of watching your belly swell, scans that show development, weight gain, "eating for two", it all frames it in your mind- you are making a baby from scratch.
It's so hard to let your child get the bumps and bruises when you know you could prevent them. If I'm doing dishes in the kitchen, I can't see what she's doing in the lounge (ie. living room). There have certainly been times when I'm cooking or washing dishes and I've heard a thud followed by a cry. Then I go running to find that she's fallen from something. She can't get up too high anywhere luckily, but still, my baby is hurt. Mama's hugs and cuddles can make things better.
But not for everything.
So maybe I am a little bit more protective, but I have a very active two year old who ploughs through life faster than I can keep up. I don't want to prevent her from trying things and making mistakes, but for now, I can at least tell her careful and hope that the bumps and bruises are minor.
Because I love her, and I made her from scratch.