A few days ago Tayler and I took an hour drive to spend the day at Grandma’s. Sure enough, just as I got on the freeway, she started to cry. I knew she was ready for a nap (isn’t that how we all plan road trips?!), if I could just get her pacifier back in her mouth without being a maniac on the road. After all, since the day she was born she has always needed a pacifier to get her to fall asleep. Her cries kept intensifying, and while I’m not opposed to letting her cry some things out, after awhile it really starts to distract my driving. I thought for sure I’d have to quickly pull off the highway, find the pacifier, and get her resting easy. Just as I was about to exit, she started to quiet down. I passed the next exit, and sure enough – she had figured it out and put herself to sleep without a pacifier.
Small story — big reflection.
I sat there driving quietly, somewhat bewildered. She always needed a pacifier. How did she do that?! How long ago could she have gone without one? Did she really need one, or had I just been assuming she needed it? Had I been giving it to her for her sake, or for mine? Its the little things like having a pacifier at nap and bed time that are predictable, anticipated, and planned for. The no-brainers that help us as moms get through each day with some ease. But does that predictability sometimes get in the way of letting them stretch their wings and continue to grow? She didn’t need it, and I had no idea. It prompted me to start thinking about other no-brainers I take for granted as part of our daily routine. What else can she do on her own that I’m not letting her do?
Had I been crippling her by letting her have a pacifier when its time to sleep? Probably not. Is it a big deal? Probably not. But it was a little wake-up call that I need to be more cognizant of her developmental growth, and giving her more opportunities to become secure and independent. While routines and no-brainers are great for stability and predictability, they should also be changing just as quickly as our babies do. (Ugh – I swear she was born yesterday, and I want her to need me forever!) After the confusion had passed, I felt so proud of her. Way to figure it out honey – good for you!
Have any of you ever had an ah-ha moment where you realized your little one may just be a little more independent than you realized? I imagine that this revelation is something that happens repeatedly throughout our entire journey as mothers, and I am sure this is the first of many times Tayler will continue to show me “she’s got this”.