Don’t Come Around Here No More
I had an odd parenting moment today. I was proud and sad at the same time. This was a first for me. I know my wife has had quite a few of these moments because I’ve seen it in her face. Its an odd juxtaposition of “Yes he’s such a big independent little man!” and “When did he become such a big independent little man?” But this was my first time.
Now when I say my wife has had many of these moments, I know because she has described them to me. I always thought she was just being a little dramatic. But, I’ve found out, she is not alone. Most of our friends who have had children or are a few months to a year or two behind us have the same split. Mommy has experienced this very often. Dad…not so much. I attribute this to a condition I have diagnosed (with absolutely zero psychology training at all) as BSS, Baby Stasis Syndrome.
Regardless of time’s inexorable march on Mommy is stuck in infancy. Mommy wants her baby to grow healthy and strong, as long as that doesn’t mean growing up. The proud / despondent face has been seen at many times. Crawling, teething, walking have been causes of BSS flares in our house as I’m sure they have been in others. Every time Emmet masters a new skill I watch my wife struggle with letting him do for himself as opposed to still needing us so much.
The previous steps have left me unaffected by sadness. I for one have been very happy to have be more independent, and less needy. Although the tradeoff is time. It does take him exponentially longer to do some things, like brushing his teeth, than if I did it for him. Today however I felt my first stabbing pain of BSS. Emmet was out playing with some of the kids in our complex. They were playing with his (my) new soccer ball. There were probably eight children, all older and bigger than E, running, laughing, and kicking the ball. Then Emmet took a header. Not just a small toddler fall, he face planted in the grass. One of the girls picked him up and he seemed like he was about to cry so I went over to make sure he was OK. As I approached he looked up at me and instead of embarrasment or pain in his expression there was all the idignant outrage a three year old can bring to bear ( so not much). He pointed his finger at me and said “You don’t need to help, I’m playing with my friends, you go back over there”.
It was at once devastating and awe inspiring. He doesn’t need me. He doesn’t want me. But actually it means he’s growing up. He doesn’t need me to kiss every boo boo. He wants to be a big boy and play with his friends without me being involved all the time. Its a good thing. But its still going to take a little getting used to.