Thea, for the last week, has learned that she can pull herself up on just about anything. She’s up and down the front of the couch, the TV stand, the toilet, my legs. It’s exciting for her and fun to watch as a mom, too. And by fun I mean during those times that I’m not hovered over her, so ready so hard to blunt any corners or shelf lips.
But God has been gently nudging me that I need to let her learn about consequences or she’ll never learn the importance of balance and a good hand hold. And it’s been a really sweet experience, mainly because I am the one who has needed to learn that Thea is actually very cautious, methodical, and strong, as well as agile enough to catch herself if she does fall.
Of course, there have been plenty of times when, from the kitchen, I hear a quiet thud on the carpet followed by screaming. Thank heavens we have carpet so she can be more scared than hurt most times. And really, anymore, she’s learned to anticipate a head bonk if she does fall, and just gets back up and goes back to climbing like nothing happened.
So this afternoon as I was washing dishes, I was watching, but not worried as Thea pulled herself up our 5-gallon bucket of flour I had left in the middle of the kitchen floor.
“Vorsicht, careful,” I kept saying, really more for my own comfort than for Thea.
A pair of shoes were about two feet away from where she was standing. Her eyes kept swiveling from her hold on the bucket to those shoes, her legs bending and unbending as she tried to figure out how she was going to get down without crashing. Not figuring out a way down, she looked at the shoes as if she was deciding if it was worth the risk of trying. Turning, she put both hands back on the lid of the bucket of flour.
The thought came that I should go and be a bumper for her when she does decide to try, so she won’t smash her head on the linoleum. That’s a good idea, I thought. That way she can take a risk and be rewarded for being brave instead of getting hurt and not wanting to try again. Just let me finish washing these last two dishes.
Thea continues her critical thinking match with the shoes. I just want to quickly wash out the sink, and I’ll be done.
But sure enough, the thud and screaming gets me to finally put my stupid chore down and turn and help my baby.
You know, I’ve had to learn this same lesson more than once, unfortunately. I have come to believe that one of the most important skills for a mother to have is the ability to leave a task in the middle of it, or most often right before she is done with it, in order to tend to something more important or more pressing for someone else. I’m really not very good at it, and these last 8 months have taught me that being consistently interrupted right before I finish something on my to-do list drives me nuts! I’m just about done with going over finances, and Thea will wake up from her nap. I’m just about done with making dinner when Thea will get insta-cranky and need to be put down for a nap. I’m just about done writing a blog post when my husband will call to talk on his way home from work. It really happens all the time. And it’s not that I don’t want to do that which interrupted me. It’s the letting a task I’m almost finished with not get finished right then that has proven to be a mental challenge, mostly because it is a constant in my new world. I hope that in my near future, I’ll successfully be more patient.
I’m grateful for Thea, who even though she hurt her head on the linoleum, got back up on that bucket of flour.