My daughter, Lyla, is nine months old and growing by leaps and bounds every day. But as much as I have taught her (how to wave bye-bye, how to clap and how to give kisses, not to mention some serious dance moves) she is constantly teaching me as well.
For example, Lyla is almost walking now, and this new sense of independence has had the unfortunate side effect of her never wanting to be constrained. Trying to insert her into a car seat, stroller, and any kind of jumper or activity chair is a grave offense, punishable by an embarrassing tantrum. This includes her high chair. She has a wonderful technique of both stiffening her legs so I can’t insert them into the leg holes, while making the rest of her body loose and floppy, so I can’t strap her in. It is highly effective (I should try this the next time I am in my Gyno’s office for a pap smear) and totally frustrating.
So today, as Lyla and I wrestled for the umpteenth time, I got…quite…frustrated. As I was trying to pin her down long enough to strap her arm in and she is twisting and turning out of my hands, I was teetering on losing control of my anger. Lyla looked up at me, with my wild hair and crazy eyes, and started laughing. And you know what… I started laughing too. I was so caught up in my own frustration, that I failed to stop and ask myself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen if she won’t sit in her high chair? Or if she won’t eat her lunch (also a problem)?” The answer is… nothing. She gets all the nutrition she needs from her bottles. If she doesn’t want to eat, she doesn’t have to.
So, I sat her in my lap instead and when she wouldn’t open her mouth to let me squeeze in a bite of food, I laughed it off. When I was at the store and I had to put her in her car seat, and she started screaming like I killed Barney and everyone was staring at me with their judgy, accusing eyes, I laughed it off. And when Lyla had a temper tantrum because I wouldn’t let her insert a cracker into the DVD player, I laughed at her. And she looked at me, and she started laughing too.
I guess we both have a lot to learn… and to teach… each other.