“I like you be my mommy.”
Those six little words, spoken with a beaming smile no less, from my four year old nearly made me come undone recently.
Her heartfelt statement spoke volumes about the positive change in our relationship over the nine months we’ve known one another…because on September 2 of last year, things didn’t seem so promising.
Based on the experiences of our first four children, I went into the day fully prepared for her to grieve and be withdrawn. She did and she was. What I didn’t expect was complete and total aversion to me. Seriously. She did not like me. Not one bit. She let us know early on by hitting, scratching, kicking and biting, and then later by throwing a full-fledged temper tantrum anytime I got near her.
I used all the standard tactics, offering treats, attempting to paint her nails, modeling snuggles, hugs and kisses with my other kids, trying to hold her through the tantrums…
But she wasn’t buying it.
To the point that I clearly remember the first day my older kids went back to school and my husband returned to work. I sat on the kitchen floor and came close to tears as I wondered, “So it all comes down to this…now what?”
I’m not gonna lie, those first days, weeks, and even months were hard. She clearly didn’t like being left at home with me during the weekdays. I was more thankful than ever we had decided not to send our youngest son on to kindergarten this year because he at least provided a distraction and buffer. And in the moments they’d play together, I would madly flip through my worn out copy of The Connected Child (Dr. Karyn Purvis) to find pointers and just be encouraged that we would find our way out of the fog someday.
The constant barrage of visits to see specialists, outpatient surgeries, and what seemed to be 50 million eye drops post glaucoma surgery didn’t seem to be helping the cause.
But slowly, ever so slowly, my often clumsy lead was picked up by the little one watching. I celebrated every milestone as she went from totally distrusting me to tolerating my presence to actually initiating interaction from time to time.
And then the day came that we were side by side in the kitchen, me chopping vegetables and her stirring a sauce when our elbows bumped, she turned to me and said, “I like you be my mommy.”
My soul danced a bit in that moment. Not only has she come to understand the concept of what a mommy is, she likes that I am hers!
And that? Totally makes the months we struggled worth the effort. Totally!
So if anyone out there is still deep in the trenches of the seemingly never ending re-adjustment period, chin up. Keep reaching out to those who have gone before you, keep reading your copy of The Connected Child, keep extending yourself to your child who shuns you. Better days are bound to be coming…