Monday, August 29, 2011

Mommy's Turn

My daughter and me - bonding before bedtime...
Recently, my daughter has started using this expression to mean that she wants mommy to do whatever it is that needs to be done (in relation to her) at that time. These activities range from holding her hand to walk with her - to taking her to the bathroom to pee - to washing her cute little bum, when she had done more than peeing! When she utters "mommy's turn na!", this mommy's heart turn into little pieces and I literally do anything to be able to accommodate her request. Needless to say, I would bend over backwards for my little girl - just because I know there is no such thing as spending too much time with her.

When she was first born - no matter how busy I would get in the office, I would aim to get home by 7pm - from then on, the care for her was almost entirely mine - until I needed to go back to work again the next day. I would feed her (I directly breastfed her) and put her to bed. In between that - I change diapers, clean up poop and/or spit ups, play storyteller, act goofy, sing off key, kiss booboos... the list is never ending. During the course of her 1st 18 months - K and I were pretty much on our own for about 3 weekday nights a week, while her daddy is out of town some days of the week. Sometimes, one of the two grannies will be with me for an hour or two to help out, but at the end of the evening, it was always K and I who will hit the sack together, cuddling each other to sleep.

In a way, I think K got spoiled with all this attention. The question is - is there really such a thing as spoiling a child with attention? Today, as she is able to better express herself through words and actions, she is becoming more demanding of my time. In the mornings, I cannot leave for the office without K sitting on my lap, leaning on my chest sleepily, wanting to be hugged just a little bit more. These days, she knows to say "no" when I say I need to leave for work. When I get home from work, she is all over me as I have dinner - playing with my hair, hugging me from behind, or just babbling illegible sentences with "mommy" interspersed into them. She has reached the stage when saying goodbyes are not as easy as they used to be.

We have our share of misunderstandings - a 34 year old and a toddler! I am constantly correcting her or telling her not to do certain things. She's not always happy when I do that. When I saw she has started to understand my instructions - I started giving her short time outs whenever she wilfully disobeys my instructions. Both of us exhibit the eldest child syndrome (because we both are) - or maybe it's the stubbornness in us (she was born in the year of the ox, under the sign of aries; i was born in the year of the snake, under the sign of Taurus). We always spend the first few minutes of our "misunderstanding" not talking to each other doing our own thing - and then we both melt, and then kiss and make up. At this age, I can see my daughter has an implicit sense of awareness about emotions - she knows when she has made me feel bad, and uses her charms to win me back.

I am selfishly happy with all this. I know this will not last forever. My little girl will grow up and will want to do other things without me. She will want to be free from my watchful eyes. But all those are things of tomorrow - what's important is today. Today, she's all mine - and she wants it to be my turn. Oh, how I cherish today!

"Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. To him we cannot answer 'Tomorrow,' his name is today." - Gabriela Mistral

Originally written on July 22, 2011.

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