Lia has started swimming classes just before turning 4 months. The compelling proposition was that babies have innate water-friendly abilities and reflexes that will aid their development as a water baby. After all, they were immersed in fluid for 9 months!
Coach Wan from Happy Fish taught me a valuable lesson in developing a child’s abilities. She propped Lia onto her shoulder, faced upwards, and bounced gently in the water so that Lia floats on her back.
“Lia is small (size and age); we want to take advantage of this by getting her used to her buoyancy. This way, she won’t struggle with floating once she’s learnt to sit upright because she’s familiar with remaining horizontal in the water.”
She went on to explain how new skills are imparted through taking advantage of each stage of a child’s development.
This means that as parents, being present and aware to our children helps us to recognize where they are at in their development right now, as well as their strengths and their personality, and to take advantage of that to help them learn and embed new capabilities and understanding.
It means not forcing them beyond their current stage of development to attempt to cram advanced logics and concepts in hopes that they learn more, faster.
It means, being at peace with who they are now and encouraging that, instead of forcing them into being the concept of someone you’d like them to be.
“WATCH OUT!!!” I yelled.
My heart stopped 2 beats as I watched my 3 month old dangle off the bed frame. It was a 2.5 foot drop to the floor. My Mother In Law spun around and grabbed her in time. I was breathing heavily rapidly. I wanted to pull my hair out. I wanted to grab something and shake it hard. I wanted to scream and cry. All through the day and into the night, flashes of the incident constantly replayed in my mind. “What if she had fallen off and fractured her skull? What if she had twisted her neck and died? What if she became permanently damaged?” went on and on like a broken record.
That night for the first time, Lia kept crying incessantly. It wasn’t like her. She’d usually fall asleep in 20 minutes, but tonight she was howling for no apparent reason. She wasn’t sickly, she wasn’t uncomfortable, she was sleepy for sure.
What was going on?
After 2 hours she finally surrendered and fell asleep after some really hard rocking. Still, she’d wake up occasionally and continue sobbing. I lay down beside her, events from the afternoon still replaying in my head. Maybe she’s disturbed like I am. Maybe she’s disturbed by me. Maybe she senses my internal chaos and upset. I had to let this go, move on. I was still holding on to the shock when I didn’t need to. I was still holding on to blame for my MIL. The truth is, nothing happened in reality, but the story continued in our heads (My MIL was still blaming herself).
I’m living in a past that’s passed, and a future that isn’t happening.
Soon, Lia fell peacefully asleep and didn’t wake until her next feed.
I was bathing Lia today and found myself looking forward to the convenience that comes when Baby is able to sit up on her own. Lia is still 4 months and flops around, requiring support and the art of 1-hand bathing. “Then I’d be able to play with her, I’d be able to do more during her bath time with her” I rationalized.
I was living in the future.
I suppose its normal to look forward to who our children would grow up to become, how life would be different (or easier), how much more freedom we’d be able to enjoy, or simply being able to do the things we’re not able to do right now.
Later that night, it took me some time to fall asleep. I wanted to hug something. I wanted to hug her. I watched her sleeping soundly in her cot on my left. How I wished I could hug her to sleep. I missed the days we’d both fall asleep with her on my chest. She hates that now. She’ll squirm and protest. Sigh, “all grown up at 4 months old now” I lamented.
Here I was now living in the past.
You know what though? I have no regrets. I have had profound moments with her sleeping on me when she was just a few weeks old. I’d look down at her. One day, I thought, she’d no longer fit on my chest. One day further down the road, she’d probably cringe at the idea of hugging me.
The here and now with her moved me to tears.
“Better stay here with her now where she needs me,” in the present, not the past, not the future. I want to have a future with no regrets, and that thought often brings me back cherishing what we have going now, even if it’s 1-handed baths.