Yesterday Michelle tried potty-training the baby, and it actually worked! She placed Celia, with naked bum, onto one of those little plastic potty-trainers, and Celia peed into it, then cried for some reason. Michelle was ecstatic. I still can’t believe it myself. How did she learn to do that? How did she know? Was it random?
But somehow, in the current chaos of the house, Celia ended up downstairs on a cozy chair and Michelle was bringing the pee-filled potty-trainer down when she saw Celia fall off the chair onto her head. Boom!
She literally watched the baby mid-fall as it happened, as if in slow motion. In her shock, she dropped the plastic potty-trainer replete with pee and rushed over to the rattled baby.
In no time she was on the phone with me sobbing, “Celia hit her head! She fell and hit her head!”
“Did she go unconscious?” I asked.
“Did she cry right away?”
“Do you see the bump?”
“She’ll be okay. Don’t worry. It won’t be the last time she hits her head.”
Michelle sputtered a bit. I asked her the details of what happened. How high was the fall? How did it happen? Then I asked the important question, “And the pee? Did it really go everywhere?”
It seems like Celia’s had a rough few days, when I tally up all the bumps, bruises, burns, and electrocutions. It’s like she’s at an age where she’s exploring her own personal limits. And although it’s hard to watch her get all beat up, I know that if she can learn some of this now, while she’s young, and while the injuries are mostly harmless, she’ll not have to experience more tragic injuries later.
I think we’re going to try to parent her in this way on all fronts. We all learn best through failure, and rather than try to protect our children from experiencing the pain of failure, my philosophy is that we should allow them to experience failure and pain as young as possible, while we’re still nearby to offer counsel and support. Better for them to flop with us around than when they’re teenagers and out in the big world with only their peers. I want them to be mature before they’re teenagers, and to do that I will have to do my best to not protect them from their mistakes. Of course, I will offer counsel, advice, and support, but I will allow them to make their own decisions. I know it goes against our nature as parents, because we don’t want our kids to experience harm, but in the big picture, it’s a rough world out there, and I want my kids to be prepared for it.
Of course, when the week’s already been this rough, part of me thinks, “Let’s do our best to protect her from herself for awhile!” She’s got such an adventurous spirit, it’s hard to control. But she is mostly respectful of the boundaries I’ve been setting. No touching the guitar. No pulling books off the shelves. I’ve been using “Tay-tay” a lot these days. Funny thing is, I realized after we agreed on this made-up word that Michelle was really thinking of “Tut-tut,” which is the British way of saying “No” politely, but her pregnant brain couldn’t exactly think of it, and it ended up being a completely different word. I don’t care, as long as it’s not the word “No” and it’s something she’ll remember, I’m happy saying it. We do say “No” a lot as well, but only when it’s really serious.
On another note, I slept downstairs last night. No snuggling, but I’m well rested. I’m going to do this until Michelle gets Celia sleep-trained. Michelle has taken the hint, and she says she’s going to stop nursing in the middle of the night. She agrees that the baby is old enough to sleep through the night without a meal. The only reason she nurses throughout the night is we’ve trained her to do it. It’s our fault, not hers. She’s only doing what we’ve shown her to do all this time; if she wants to be comforted, here’s an easy way to do it. Suckle at the boob.
But not for much longer. Get used to it, Celia, because you’re growing up.