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Monday, March 9, 2015

I Made My Daughter Cry (and why that's somewhat a good thing)

I made my daughter cry the other day.

She and I have this game we played. She and I would roar at each other, like lions. It was gleeful and fun. I'd roar or she'd roar, and then the other would answer. Big grins, big bonding. It was so simple and so fun...
She hadn't roared for a week or two, but we've been busy and I hadn't really  noticed. Then a couple
days ago I roared at her, to start the game...

She flinched. 

No, roaring is not why she cried. But I was so struck with the fact that she'd outgrown this game. It had been a phase and now it was over. It was over!

I burst into tears.

I should clarify that she's only 9 months old, so while I've had to tearfully put aside onesies and cute little pants the truth is she's so young she'd not really grown out of much yet but instead had been growing into behaviors. She's also my first, so I've not gone through this before. So it was just a big "oh wow, she's growing so fast" moment.

I just couldn't hold back the tears...

And neither could she.

Seeing her mom cry, she began to sob. And I had to try to smile through my tears to cheer her up... and didn't fool her. It took ten to fifteen minutes and the help of my husband (rolling his eyes at me when he found out why I was crying) to calm her down. Plus dancing with her in my arms and playing with "the baby in the mirror."

I felt so awful making her cry. I hated seeing her hurt because I hurt, since I'd rather she never hurt at all.

But then I also felt wonder as I realized that her tears were another milestone. In my hormonal, tired state this wasn't the first time I'd cried in front of her these past nine months, but she'd never been so deeply, emotionally impacted by it before and this was a new behavior. 

"Generously" sharing her toy snail with Vex
This was empathy!

Aside from our faith, which I can encourage but primarily is between them and God anyway, empathy is the number one thing I want to pass on to my children. It's the foundation for compassion, understanding, and consideration.

For a while if I thought about the roaring game being gone I was broken up about it. (I never got it on tape, which is part of the tragedy... though as my husband points out, maybe she'll like it again soon. She is a baby.) However if losing this game is a trade off for the gains of the beginnings of empathy, then it is definitely worth it.

Children's ever changing natures as they discover, unfold and create their personalities is wondrous and part of the beauty of childhood. I'm trying to take the time now to see Dreamer emerging; nurturing generosity when I thank her for handing me a teething toy (which she wants me to nibble on so she can laugh at me doing it.)  Encouraging kindness as I oversee her petting the cat as to keep it "gentle." I am seeing seeds being sown, both good and the bad (she pulled Vex's tail today before I could stop her) but am trying to deliberately water the good ones.

Which I admit is pretty easy because she's pretty awesome, in my unapologetically biased opinion!


44 comments:

  1. May I dare to have same bond with Father God. What is that delights Him and what is that break His heart, should break mine!!!!

    Thanks for the lovely post, straight from the heart and such a joy to learn an important lesson.

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  2. Wow Shushant I love that, what a goal! Empathizing with God... As much as our human limitations allow of course.

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  3. I have a 13 month old - my first child too and believe I know how you feel! I shed tears to seeing how fast he grows! But he still makes me laugh and smile everyday and though we feel some sort of loss there is joy in watching him grow.

    iactuallyrun.com

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  4. I am a young 20s girl that doesn't have children yet but works a lot with the children at our church. I love seeing how they are growing but I know it's not the same as your own :) Thanks for a great post to read! <3

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  5. Thank you for the analogy...we sometimes forget how our Father must feel!

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  6. Crazy how time flies! I remember my in-laws telling me to take in all of the tantrums and things like that. Now my son is 14 and I'm kind of glad those are over, but realize in just a few years, he'll be out on his own. We really need to embrace the certain things that happen at different times. :)

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  7. I have two teenagers. It seems like yesterday they were that age! I agree that empathy is a wonderful thing to teach our children. Some children aren't taught that. You sound like a great mom!

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  8. What a great perspective. It's so fun (and hard) watching littles get older.

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  9. I have no doubt, after reading this, that your daughter will become a wonderful, compassionate human being. Enjoy each day with her. My oldest will be leaving for college in the Fall. My memories of our time together are so precious.

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  10. Very cute daughter! They do grow fast, but I do love seeing the good characteristics shine through.

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  11. They grow so fast! Sometimes faster than what we would like but it is such a wonderful journey for both parent and child!

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  12. How sweet! Just watching how quickly my niece is growing makes me emotional. It happens so fast! I love that she hated to see you cry, though. What a sweet moment and memory!

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  13. They grow up so fast! I have 3 kids and sometimes I was also sad of things they stop doing, but on the other hand so happy of the little people they are becoming!

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  14. Oh yes, it makes me so sad to think about how quickly my kids are growing . . . it's good, but definitely bittersweet!

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  15. She's beautiful, and from one Mom's heart to another, that was such a touching story. My kids are 15 - 21 years old now and I could still sob with almost every change. They're all so bittersweet. It's like "hooray... but oh no, do you really want to do that?" Ugh. And I agree with you, that was a wonderful moment for you to realize that your sweet little one already developed empathy. Blessings!

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  16. So fun to read this! I have four kids ages five and under and I'm always worried about documenting all of the sweet and funny things that they do. Just recently our two year old started calling my brother Eric "uncle yay-yay"...we have no idea how he got "yay-yay" from Eric but it makes us smile every time he says it...and despite my best intentions, I probably won't get it recorded, I just look at it as "motherhood-mana", what I need to lighten the mood and get me through this season...I won't remember every silly thing down the road, but that's ok, because each season will bring things to smile about and that will be my manna for that day :)

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  17. Aww, your little one is already learning empathy, so there's another positive to this cry fest :)

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  18. How sweet! I miss having babies in the house. When they get older sometimes, they forget how to be emphathetic.

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  19. How sweet! I miss having babies in the house. Sometimes, when they are older they sometimes they forget empathy.

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  20. Empathy is such a wonderful attribute to encourage in your children, too many today seem to lack it. I try very hard to imagine what other people are feeling and do my best to help them feel better and worked hard to help my children understand that concept too. It gives me a warm feeling inside when I see them react towards others with compassion instead of indifference.

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  21. Time flies, and the next thing you know she is moving out of the house...My daughter is 28, and I miss all those milestones terribly. Will wait for grandbabies now :)

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  22. Cherish these moments--this time really does go by so fast. Mine are all in double digits now, and I miss the baby years. But, each age and stage is a delight. This is a beautiful post!

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  23. Awww!! Lovely..

    http://zigzacmania.blogspot.in/

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  24. Each new day brings new emotions with children because as they get older, they are constantly becoming more aware of their surroundings and understanding new things. Don't forget to write about your roaring game in your daughter's baby book so when she is old enough it will be a memory you can share with her. She will love it.

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  25. What an absolutely beautiful post! My stepdaughter is 10 and LOVES to play this game with me that we made up together -- but it admittedly takes a lot of energy. Sometimes when I don't feel like playing, it helps to remember that soon (probably very soon, unfortunately) she's going to have no interest in it anymore. <3

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  26. What a beautiful daughter, They do grow fast, it must be wonderful to watch.

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  27. So cute. Thanks for sharing! She is adorable!

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  28. What a cutie pie!!! I enjoyed reading your post and it would be sad to see a child grow. At times it seems that they grow up too fast, but you will have wonderful memories that last a lifetime.

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  29. So sweet! Our son also tends to be empathetic. Sometimes it hurts my heart to see him hurting but then it makes me so happy that he has a compassionate spirit and that he cares for others. I definitely want to encourage that spirit in him!

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  30. It's funny how it's so easy to have experiences like these constantly when you're a parent! They're always doing something new, and amazing you. I'm often sad when I think of the moments with my son from the past two years that won't happen again, because he's in a new phase. Yet I enjoy who he is right now as a person so much, and I look forward to seeing all of the ways he will amaze me in the future also! Your experience here will be an interesting one to share with your daughter when she's older. A time that will come all too soon, I'm sure!

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  31. This post is so sweet! Made me smile.

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  32. Awwww...the stages move so quickly. Sniff. I used to scoff at people who said once you had a child the time flew by but sadly they are so right. Yesterday I was playing peekaboo with my infant and today I have a toddler. It is so fast. Hang on for the wonderful ride. Empathy is the best trait to see in your child. Good job, mama.

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  33. I would venture to say your daughter will enjoy roaring again. My 3 year daughter old claims her favorite animals are lions and tigers and I think she likes them simply because they roar.

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  34. 9 months was one of my favorite ages with my daughter so far. I must admit I cry too over stages that have ended. What wonderful memories you are making with her! they grow to fast.

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  35. Your daughter's smile - you can't help but smile back. I babysit my nephew (no kids of my own yet) a lot, and it's such a joy to see him growing up and help teaching him things.

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  36. Yes, it is so sad when a cute phase is over. My husband and I love to remember the cute sayings and phrases our kids used. My son called my husband Ada and me Ama till just a few weeks ago when he burst into, "Daddy!" in a busy store. It was bittersweet to see the change.

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  37. Aw, this made me tear up! My youngest just turned 2, and it is unbelievable how fast he has grown. Beautiful post!

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  38. So sweet - of course she doesn't want to see Mom cry! It works both ways too. A few years ago we were listening to the Lion King soundtrack with my nephew when he suddenly started crying. When we asked him what was wrong, he said, "This is the part where Mufasa dies." Of course we (Mom, Aunt, and Grandma) were all soon in tears too. Little ones definitely develop empathy at a young age.

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  39. What a beautiful little girl! My daughter is going through the same things she had twins that are almost five months old. They were born two months premature and spent those two months in the NICU unit. They've been home for almost three months and it seems to be going so fast! I love the fact that you understood that this was empathy your daughter was showing. She will grow up to be a beautiful person!

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  40. Oh the wonderful milestones. They just get better & may offer more tears; of joy that is.

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  41. This is very sweet. Kids are so in tune with their parents feelings. I know ours are! They are very effected by our emotions. Great post!

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  42. Thanks for opening up my eyes to see things differently.

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