I smile. Smiling is what I do when I am at a loss for words. I turn my eyes towards the ground, as if I have just been scolded. There I am, looking at my feet, still smiling.
What is wrong with me? I have done nothing wrong. “Lift your head up, hold it high and own this” I tell myself. I don’t actually SAY the words because I don’t want them to know that they got to me.
I’m still smiling, but now it’s a little less forced. When I lifted my head, my nose brushed against his hair. The smell of sweet sweat is stuck in my nostrils.
I don’t mind it, at all. This is the scent that any mother welcomes. She could probably pick out her kin in a line-up for kids with sweaty hair. It’s a mom thing.
The smell, and now I am starting to feel the heat from his body squished against mine in the unrelenting humidity. The two of us have melted into a blob of perspiration in the afternoon sun, but it’s OK. I am not here to impress anyone – which I remind myself of when I lift my head and hold it high – so high that the sun is blinding me.
UGH – I have to get away from this nightmare of a playground. All of a sudden I feel like a trapped deer, frantically searching of an escape route. I can’t even pretend to listen to their conversation any longer. I just want to leave – STAT!
“Can he walk?”, “Do his legs work?”, “He realizes the cord has been cut, right?”… the put-downs, the insults, call them what you want… they rain down on us, they just keep coming.
They don’t wait for me to answer. Clearly their comments aren’t meant as conversation openers, dialog kick starters. Nope – they are meant as jabs and not so subtle hints that maybe, just maybe, our toddler shouldn’t still be carried in his oh-so-chic toddler carrier.How to be proud of your #ParentingChoices - when others disagree. #AttachmentParenting Click To Tweet
Jonah, 2.5 years old is snug as a bug in a rug in his little nest. Arms are tucked in and his head is resting on my shoulder. He has his face turned towards my body to either shield himself from their comments or just to be that much closer to mama.
I realize that our parenting style isn’t for everyone, and that’s fine. Their parenting style isn’t for us either. I know what they are thinking, well – it’s not really hard to figure out since they are nice enough to vocalize their thoughts. But they also make a point to repeat their comments every time we get together, so there is no guesswork.
Apparently I baby our baby! Yup that’s my gravest parenting offense. I babied all of our babies, while they were (wait for it…) BABIES. But this particular group of “friends” (I use that term loosely) weren’t around back then – and I have a feeling they won’t be around much longer either.
Our baby is now 2.5 years old, which to me is not the “big boy” age they claim he has reached. Our oldest is 9, so yes – I know how quickly it goes. I realize that one day this little extension of me will keep his mama at an arm’s length distance – and we will only travel around the sun a few times before that day comes.
With our first baby, I rushed the milestones. I couldn’t wait to see what was behind the next door, the quicker the better.
With our second son, who had some medical complications, I longed for the milestones to get here, as a confirmation of how well he was doing.
By the time the third arrived on the scene, I knew that time was precious. But he was a force to be reckoned with, weighing 11lbs 5oz at birth. There wasn’t anything that was going to slow down this little freight train.
Our fourth, and last joined our family when peace had settled over us as parents. We know that time flies and that every stage is a fleeting moment in the grand scheme of things.
So when Jonah asks to be held, wants “nursies” or cries for me in the middle of the night, I am going to happily fulfill his request.
It is no longer a matter of months before he stops asking for “nursies,” I already see the signs, more and more each day. Soon thereafter he will sleep through the night regularly…
There will eventually also come a time when he no longer wants to be held. When he will either use his God-given legs or happily sit in a stroller when we are out and about.
But until that day… until HE is ready, and not when a group of bored bullying moms decide he ought to be ready, he will continue to be held, rocked and nursed.
Still smiling… because remember, that’s what I do… I gather our belongings and tell the moms that we are leaving. They stop talking for a few minutes and remind me that we were supposed to hang out much longer.
I almost start to apologize for leaving. I start to make up an excuse, as Jonah wakes up crying. The timing couldn’t have been better.
Jonah cries and clear as day says “Mama, I want nursies!” – and those are my parting words. I leave the moms standing in the sweltering heat so they can talk about the fact that I am still nursing our toddler.