Friday, May 04, 2012

My Baby and Your Baby

I see how easy it can be to compare your kid to someone else's and how poisonous this thinking can be.  Born in the middle of a small local baby boom, I hear of the amazing accomplishments of other babies around Connor's age.  This baby waves bye-bye and just said, "Hi, Mama."  That baby just cut his first tooth and has lost his gummy baby grin.  Connor has hit incredible milestones of his own, but none of those.  Immediately, my mind turns to thoughts of what I might have done wrong to keep him from essentially being exactly like the other babies I know.  It's ridiculous.  Why do I think, "What's wrong with my baby?" when he's moving at his own pace - doing exactly what I try so hard to do each day?  'Rad, I will try my hardest to not to project my motherly insecurities on you.

Speaking of projecting things on other things, I'm a bit consumed with the idea that 'Rad's experiences in the high chair will set his eating habits for life.  I struggle with what goes in my mouth and down the hatch and would hate for Connor to learn such a struggle from me.  In her book "Momma Zen," Karen Maezen Miller hits the point home:

When You're not looking, you will spoon-feed your child all of your hang-ups about food.  Even if you are looking, you will still do it.  Because there is not a single one of us unenlightened beings to whom food is just food.  When is a pea no longer a pea?...When it is an accomplishment or when it is a failure.  When it is a tool to control, impose, coerce, reward or punish.  And when it substitutes for entertainment, activity, company, consolation, conversation, or anything that isn't spelled p-e-a.

That paragraph contains a lot of baggage, but I want Connor to maintain the free spirit that he was born with.  It's when we start worrying and overthinking and trying to be and do too much that we aren't us anymore (that's right, 127 pages of a book on daily Zen has made me an expert).  In my overwhelmingly novice expertise of this topic, the knowledge I've gained from life has made keeping Connor's carefree smile just that and not a facade for danger brewing beneath a main purpose in my life.  If I can take care of him well enough that he maintains the sincerity and genuineness that all babies possess, I'll be a happy mama.

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