An honest take on life and parenthood

Cosmic reasons for the Pooh

on May 12, 2012

Some people believe that we choose our parents before we arrive on Earth. It’s an interesting idea. I sometimes look at the Pooh and wonder why she chose me to be her mother. I actually feel like she was sent to me for some pretty hard-core learning of my own, so it’s hard to imagine what I could be teaching her.

I was such a serious child. I was moody, quiet, and sometimes morose. The Pooh is silly and light and comical, all of the things I was not. So as I reflect on this child and her presence in my life, I cannot help but be thankful for her, even when she tests my patience to the max and drives me up a wall. Here are the things she has brought me and taught me:

1) STOP. That’s right. When everything is screaming around you and there is too much to do and too many things to respond to, often it is just best to stop what you are doing and just be. When she sees me frantic, she flips out and forces me to stop because she demands my attention. The little bugger actually knows best, I have to admit.

2) EMPATHIZE. A baby or small child can’t verbalize what they need, or what is upsetting them. It is easy to jump to conclusions, and think that they are just pulling your chain for attention. I’ve learned that if I stop and empathize for just a few seconds, I can usually figure out the problem and then solve it quickly. But it takes exercising a different part of the brain.

3) THINK. The world for a small child is full of new experiences, which can be overwhelming at times. It requires that you look around you with new eyes, and think about it in a new way so that you can introduce it to your monkey. It’s cool. I like it.

4) SAY NO. I am the Queen of Multitasking, the Queen of “Hey, That Interests Me, Let Me Chase After That,”  the Queen of “Yes, How High?” Suddenly, I have to say no. You have no idea how hard this is. But do it I must. If I say yes to everyone else, I say no to my Pooh. And very quickly, I realized that I could not justify prioritizing a light favor to someone else over something more meaningful to her. So I am now exercising that “no” muscle, and it is getting stronger every day.

5) DAWDLE. Sometimes, there is nothing more enjoyable than dawdling. Examining a flower or a bug, or asking, “What’s that?” It’s really about looking around and enjoying and experiencing what you see. It’s nice.

6) ACCEPTANCE. The Pooh is incredibly accepting of people. I know that she must observe differences in age and skin color and appearance, but she seems to conduct her own evaluation that isn’t based on looks. Truth be told, you are ok in her book if you offer her a lollipop or toy, but I like the fact that she does not yet seem to be influenced by society’s stereotypes about people. Very refreshing.

7) BE SILLY. “Mommy, look at me!” I hear. I’ll turn around, and I’m looking at a child with stickers all over her face, or a bucket on her head. And sometimes, she’ll just bust out some baby dance moves because she likes the music we are listening to. She asks me to join her, and I do. We dance with abandon, like Lucy and Marcie, and we dance like no one is looking. We’re no Solid Gold Dancers, but it’s totally fun, and now I wonder why I didn’t do it before.

8) EMBRACE IMPERFECTION. This is a tough one for me. I have always been a driven perfectionist. When the Pooh arrived, I realized that I had to choose: perfection, or time with her. I tried to do both, and almost cracked. I ended up choosing her, and we are both happier for it. If you come to my house, you will see a dirty floor and toys more or less in their places (or not), and unfolded laundry, and an overflowing recycling bin. Chances are, my sweater and my jeans have a spatter of something on them. But what you will also see is a pretty darn happy mom, and definitely a happy Pooh.

So thank you, little one, for all that you are teaching me. It is a privilege to be your Mommy, even if I am not always the most cooperative or obedient student.

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