So much of parenting is a guessing game, especially when your child can’t verbalize their thoughts. Caroline does know how to sign “more” and “all gone” which has been so very helpful to give her an avenue to communicate. I take back all of the times I pooh-poohed the idea of teaching babies sign language. I WISH we would have introduced more signs into our daily routine earlier.
Signing “more” used to just be for the culinary realm….more milk, more sandwich, more clementines. Recently, Caroline started to sign “more” in other parts of the day: after she climbed the stairs with help (yikes!), after she got a ride in the laundry basket, and after she jumped off of the curb. It was wonderful to see her apply her sign language to other times of the day, BUT it also brought on more frustration for this Mama and toddler duo. After awhile, we had to stop climbing the stairs because it was time for dinner, we couldn’t jump off of the curb anymore because it was time to go inside, and the laundry needed to be folded and put away so there were no more rides in the basket to be offered. In each of these instances, first came the frustrated scream, the signing of “more,” and then my immediate attempt to redirect. Needless to say, I have been singing Kelly Clarkson’s “Miss Independent” during all of these moments.
I have been reflecting on C’s frustration and my weariness at the end of these long days. One night, I let a weepy moment slip into my thoughts, thinking about how this is only the tip of the iceberg. I fast-forwarded to the first day of kindergarten when she’ll ride the school bus. Many, many thoughts later, I was thinking about Caroline going off to college and only coming home for holidays and summers. By weepy moment, I really mean, I was an emotional wreck!
But then, I pulled myself together and was reminded of an afternoon Caroline and I had spent outside in the sunshine.
This picture reminds me that I have the privilege of being Caroline’s Mama. I will always be by her side to support her, guide her, encourage her, and most of all, love her. My heart sings every time she puts her little hand in mine. From now on, when “Miss Independent” makes her appearance, this will be a reminder to me that “…the days are long, but the years are short.” Let’s redirect, regroup, and keep embracing that beautiful sunshine!