Parenting Miss Independence
When I was pregnant the first time, my husband and I were convinced it was a girl—given the size of my face and my butt—but we were wrong. During my second pregnancy, we decided to find out the gender of the baby. When the sonogram technician told us we were having a girl, my husband's face lit up. My reaction wasn't as sweet. I thought I was going to vomit. A girl? What the heck am I going to do with a girl? I don't know how to be a mom to a girl! I am supposed to be a boy mom! I love baseball. I hate shopping. It's so much easier to screw up a girl!
I can't do this!
Alas, 20 weeks later, our daughter Simone was born. From the moment she arrived, Simone made a point to let us know she was independent. While my son as a newborn would have sucked on my breast for hours, my daughter would stare up at me after 10 minutes with a look that said, "Can I go now?" She found her thumb at 3 months, slept through the night, never needed to be rocked, cuddled or soothed. It was apparent very early on that she had a flair for getting what she needed without our help.
During Simone's first year, there were times when I would say to my husband, "I don't think she likes me." Her independence concerned me. Wasn't she supposed to be overly attached to her mom? Wasn't I supposed to be complaining to my friends about how exhausted I was carrying her around all day? Simone crawled at 6 months, almost as if to defiantly say, "Look, Mom, I don't even need you to get around anymore."
When Simone started to talk, I would walk into her bedroom in the morning with a smile on my face and she would say, "Where's Daddy?" She would ask to play in her crib—away from her brother, away from me, just to have alone time. I recently went into her room to play with her. I sat down next to her and her stuffed animals. She said, "No, it's OK, Mommy, I'm fine." Interesting. While my son wishes they made Baby Bjorn's for 4-year-olds, my daughter usually cringes when I squeeze her too tight.
Now, anyone who knows me understands that this type of "distant" relationship is challenging given the fact that all I want is for EVERYONE to like me. I've come to learn that Simone needs her space, and I do my best to give it to her. However, sometimes it does feel like rejection. Sometimes I feel like I must be doing something wrong. Sometimes I wonder if I should be taking this so personally.