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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Innocence & Purity

So I thought I had whittled my insomnia down to where I may be able to get some rest before Kat inevitably woke up for her dead-of-night feeding, but alas.....

Innocence & Purity- those words came to mind as I mulled over my day with my children. While I frequently find myself with fists clenching and temple veins throbbing in an attempt to rein in my frustration at yet another temper tantrum or display of willful disobiedience from Henry, I also deeply cherish this stage because he still has that tenuous wholly-innocent and pure aura about him only found in small children. I read somewhere mothers' auras cover their children too under they are three. Not sure why that stuck with me, but now that Henry has turned three, I do sense that subtle shift away from me.

Henry's world, now between toddler & preschool, seems to be largely a selfish world with the overarching theme of "What's in it for me?" The merest suggestion of doing something he's the least bit opposed to sets off nuclear-powerworthy tantrums. Even everyday things like getting dressed, eating breakfast (I gave up on enforcing structured naptimes), brushing teeth, combing hair, washing hands, going potty.... It's a constant stream of encouraging, cajoling, pleading & threatening.

Yet I see touching displays of childish innocence like when he gently strokes his baby sister's cheek with one finger, softly cups her face to look into her wide blue eyes and laughs for no apparent reason, his delight mirrored in her face as well. Or when he wraps his arms around our enormous dog's neck to hug her tight. He finds simple joy in this world that as adults, we seldom even see anymore.

Henry's not in a rush to get to an appointment or submit that paper on time. He's not consumed with thoughts of paying bills and job-searching. He has not developed that bitter disillusionment we acquire through the realization that life is not fair and working hard does not guarantee success.

I try to step back when in the midst of those frustrating moments and remember what veteran-mothers have told me. It's only for a minute. They grow up so fast. Treasure each stage. Pretty soon he won't be needing you anymore. You cannot get this time with your children back. No one said on their deathbed that they wished they had spent more time at work.

I thought of that tonight while hammering out a rough draft for a paper due tomorrow. My husband was putting Henry to bed to give me a precious few minutes of writing-time. Henry was crying for Mama to rock him to sleep and I felt that overwhelming maternal response. Nothing else matters, my child needs me, as in get-in-my-way-and-I-WILL-knock-you-over. We wrapped up in cosy fleece blankets and tucked in together in the  rocking chair. As I sat there rocking in the dim nursery, his breathing slowed and he sank into sleep in my arms, and I realized just how numbered those nights are. Before I know it, he will be too grown up to be rocked to sleep by Mama.

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