Lately I've gauged how my days are going by the number of quiet crackers Alice eats. Quiet cracker is the name I've given to these little mushy rice crackers that Alice loves to gobble up. Two quiet crackers is an easy day. Five? A bit more difficult. That little cracker gives me approximately four and a half minutes to finish up whatever I am doing. To empty the dishwasher. To throw the wash into the dryer. To snap a few more photos while out on a walk. To eat my breakfast with both hands!! Call it bribery. Call it genius. I call it four and a half minutes of certainty. Plus I am pretty sure it helps with her dexterity.
One thing that has been difficult for me as Alice gets older is watching her struggle with something. She drops her toy within her reach and I pick it up and hand it back to her. She gets frustrated on her tummy and I flip her over even though she can roll both ways by herself. She puts her pacifier in upside down and I reach to fix it. Instead of letting her figure it out, I tend to want to do it for her. The new mother in me sees my baby struggling with something and my instinct is to immediately fix it for her. But what does this teach her? How will she learn if I am constantly doing all the things she finds difficult?
I'm sure that I am over-thinking the impact my helping could have on her development. But maybe I'm not. The last few days I've watched her as she has struggled with something and, mostly, she figures it out on her own. That is, if I would just let her. That's hard for me. I think it's the oldest child in me that just knows I can do it better/faster/easier than my younger siblings so I just want to do it so they don't have to. Or, more likely, I just wanted to do it so that I didn't have to wait for them to do whatever they were struggling with. Either way, it is something I am working on as I spend my days raising our daughter.
As much as I'd like to remove all the struggles from Alice's life, I know that is impossible. So I am learning to let go and to let her figure out this great big world all by herself. Bit by bit.
Because Mom won't always be there to help fix whatever she is struggling with. And that is perfectly okay.
And, thankfully, my husband comes home tonight. Those bowls of cereal and cheese and crackers for dinner are getting a bit old. Since I still don't like cooking for one, I don't think my stomach has seen a vegetable since he left. I'm working on that...