Nap Trapped Thoughts: For my baby shower, friends and family wrote me advice and well wishes on cards. My sis-in-law wrote that our children challenge us, and we can choose to harden or soften towards them. She urged me to soften. That advice sang to my heart. Of course!
But at almost 7 months now, my baby IS really starting to challenge me at times. She is wonderful. I love her more than words can express. She delights me more than I could ever have imagined.
And she pinches, scratches, and smacks me a LOT while breastfeeding. I have hypersensitive skin and my eczema has been flaring lately. It’s hard enough to not scratch myself, and when her razor sharp little nails rake my skin, it’s kind of like chalk on a blackboard. Not exactly painful, but very VERY irritating.
Ain’t gonna lie. I’ve been tempted to harden. Bat the little claws away. Speak harshly. Swear under my breath. Even though I know it is ME who has not been keeping her nails short enough. But I consider it a good practice to soften instead. Instead of batting the little hands away after wards, I practice prevention: bring her hand up for kisses BEFORE she scratches or grabs. And zerberts. The zerberts get me a sly smile while she’s preoccupied with the task of nursing.
This current potential conflict reminded me of what I heard Shelly Lefkoe* say, that a good question parents can ask themselves in the heat of the moment is, “What are the long-term consequences to my child of me getting what I want right now?” Anytime there is a conflict with my child, I am the adult in the situation, and I am the one with the responsibility to take action that serves both our interests.
I don’t succeed every time in my practice of patience, tolerance, and love. But I will do my best to choose to soften.
* I can’t find a source for this quote at the moment, but Lefkoe and her late husband discuss their ideas on parenting in this article.
PS – Just trimmed and filed her nails as she slept. Phew!