Tis the season I know, but in my house deep in the heart of darlin'ville, we aren't thinking so much about Christmas as we are about our new invader. There are "raptor" roars of delight as she has realized her power to communicate. There are slamming of toys on the floor as she has discovered the thrill of "bang" and the control over all four limbs. There are feats of defying gravity as she has learned to pull up *everywhere* especially when mama isn't looking. There are crawling sprints across the house to the center of the other darlin's prized creations for a smashing, crashing experiment in demolition. I know this stage is fraught with disaster-for the other darlin's play as well as for the *impending* holiday decorations, but, I love it. It is when a baby goes from living on your shoulder to managing herself. It is the beginning of independence, choice, discipline, and power. There are many stages to darlin'hood and once upon a time my mother-in-law gave me some good advice about that. She said always enjoy the stage your child is in while they are in it. Don't be wishing for babyhood or adulthood. You miss so much in the process. She is a veteran mom of seven wonderful children all grown with children of their own-nearly 21 at last count! This perspective has been useful, especially on days when the baby raptor stage enters around the six to seven month window. I mean, seriously, this darlin' is fearless. She is crawling, pulling up, cruising along the sofa edge, and sitting well enough to be left to her own posture in the bath. Needless to say, my temporary freedom is now over for a while anyway. I think she'd drive the car if she could. She's got places to go as my papa says! Nothing cracks me up more than a baby who can get up but not down. She is both thrilled with her power and freaked out about how to manage it. I still see this in darlin' #3 who is becoming quite the young lady at the sweet age of three in a few days. When I hear the word "no" shortly after this raptor stage, in our home at least, it is encouraged. I believe the word "no" is about power and when safety is not involved, I *try* to give the darlin's the experience of making that choice as long as it is delivered with respect. Saying "no" to others is saying yes to yourself, right? I want the darlin's to learn to say "yes" to themselves when they need it. Of course, manners work, so they are encouraged *strongly* to say "no thank you", but the point is still the same. I want the baby raptor's courage and inner strength to be preserved for the journey ahead where others will try to sway and control their paths. Hopefully at those critical decision points, my darlin's will harken back to their inner baby raptor and say "no thank you" if the situation calls for it. In the meantime, it's fine with me if they practice the "no thank you" here in darlin'ville, just as long as I remember to say "yes" to myself too, once in a while anyway!
....uh oh, gotta run, looks like the raptor has struck again! I think this is why they make baby gates to encircle the tree-and probably also why God makes the darlin's so adorable! I mean, how upset can you get when met with a sweet face like that one?!