My daughter is turning 4 years old. In the blink of an eye, she’s leap-frogged from our 2.1kg teeny tiny baby to a (mostly) rational, matter-of-fact, old-lady-in-a-small-body, articulate little girl with a huge personality.
Just a while ago, I had to go to her room for the second time tonight. She’s woken up crying because her legs hurt. I’m not exactly sure what is wrong but I tried to ease her pain by massaging her legs. As her crying went from inconsolable to a complaining whimper, I whispered that she was safe and that mummy’s got her.
This has happened a few times this month, with my husband and I taking turns to calm her down and pat her back to sleep. We’ve even crawled into her little bed and cuddled her till she’s nodded off again. Then we hope she doesn’t feel any more discomfort and sleeps through the night.
Sometimes a few hours later, she sneaks into our bed and creates her own space between our two bodies. While I’m aware of her every movement, my husband seems to sleep rather peacefully and only realises upon waking up that she’s been there half the night. While this is a marvellous talent on his part, it drives me crazy especially because I myself want to possess this rather fortuitous skill.
It seems like these recent nights are a perfect reflection of the past four years and our parenting journey. Who knows what’s happening, what’s wrong, what certain symptoms could mean, whether it warrants a trip to the doctor? What can we do to make our child feel better what she falls, when she makes a mistake, or when she doesn’t use kind words, kind hands or kind feet? How do we deal with tantrums or the most illogical of reasonings or the stubbornness of a little girl? How do we protect her from pain and shield her from the realities and evils of a scary world? We have innumerable questions and sometimes very few answers to assuage our fears, doubts and guilt.
We are still not much closer to being certain about anything, neither do I think we will ever be. We’re still figuring things out as we go along. I can speak to others about parenting from our own experiences but we’re constantly learning a little more everyday.
What we can do now, however, is keep her close, and warm, and safe. We’ve always got her, we will be here for her, and we love her always. And when she comes crawling into our bed in the middle of the night, she’ll know that she can find comfort with mummy and daddy.
Happy 4th birthday to our little pixie who has taught us more about love and life than she will ever know.
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