Friday, January 24, 2014

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What My Daughter Helped Me Remember- Guest Author Pamela Heiner

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I have always prided myself on being able to relate to children. I was the youngest in my family, as was my husband, so we’ve had years of experience being treated as children far past the age of eighteen; but that also means we’ve had nephews and nieces around much longer than most to provide us with some kid training.
With that background in mind, I felt that my own little one wouldn’t have any surprises for me. However, not only has she surprised me on many occasions, but she has also shown me that there were quite a few kid habits that I’d forgotten over the years.

Thirsty? Grab a Washcloth
My daughter was barely over three months old when she first put the washcloth from her bathtub into her mouth. She sucked timidly at first, but then when she realized that water sprang out from the fabric, she drained the corner edge dry while I was preoccupied with scrubbing her feet. I was about to pull it away when suddenly years of memories came back of doing the exact same thing. The feel of the cloth on my gums and tongue followed by the lukewarm water slipping into my belly was a sublime experience of euphoria. No cup held the same amount of pleasure that came from that sopping wet rag, so what was I to do? I turned the washcloth to a fresh corner and watched my daughter take another drink of the ambrosia called bathwater.
When Adults Talk, the World Shifts into Narnia Time
For those of you who may not be familiar with C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series, Narnia time is different from our time. To us a few minutes pass, but in Narnia forty years have come and gone. This same phenomenon happens as soon as two adults—particularly two adult women—start talking. A few weeks ago, I was standing with my daughter on my hip, talking to a woman I knew and having what I thought was a nice conversation. This came to abrupt stop when my daughter suddenly reached out, pushed the woman’s shoulder, and started repeating over and over, “Bye-bye”. I was a little stunned, and as we walked away I was thinking of how I hadn’t been talking that long which is when it hit me. I vividly recalled watching a bright sunny day through a church window change to the dark of the evening during a “little chat” with someone my mother knew. I promised I’d never do that when I grew up, but now here I was, feeling like I hadn’t talked that long, but to my daughter we were stepping out from decades in the wardrobe.
The Power of the Popsicle
The time of day doesn’t matter and neither does the temperature, because to my daughter popsicles are always a good idea. Frozen treats hold some strange magic that forever entices children; it’s a spell I knew too once, for I can recall doing literally anything someone would ask me to get flavored ice—even if it was just a cup of juice with a spoon frozen inside of it. Clean my room? Sure! Clean your room? Of course. Get into the crawl space and clear out any spiders living in there? Only if you have a popsi—okay! This seems to be the case too for my girl because if she is daydreaming, sick, sad, or just wandering around, I can mutter the word “popsicle” and she will be at my side with a smile on her face before I finish the last syllable.

The Snow Effect
I believe snow shifted from the great miracle of fun to the groan-inducing pain in the neck when I started driving. After I dared to venture out onto the roads, snow was no longer my happy holiday friend but a dangerous force to constantly outmaneuver. Our relationship hasn’t been the same since. But then I heard my daughter shouting “No! No! No!” At first, I thought she was arguing about something, but her body language told me differently. She was in her high chair, twisted around more than I thought humanly possible, and frantically pointing out our large sliding glass door in the kitchen. Fat, puffy snowflakes came down like an apocalyptic onslaught from heaven. “Babes?” I called up to my husband. “It’s snowing.” When she heard me say “snowing” her word changed from “no” to “no-ing”. Ever since that day, if we aren’t discussing whether or not a popsicle is in the near future, we are looking out all of our windows to see if it’s “no-ing” anywhere. And if it is, then of course we MUST go outside so she can face plant into the snow and graze at the top layer of fresh powder. Her excitement has been so infectious that snow and I have started being happy to see each other again.
Parents Cry at Weird Things
My mom would get teary-eyed often when I was a kid. I’d say something simple like “Thanks” or “Love you” which made her eyes would water, and then I’d find a way to sneak out of the room. Not that I didn’t care about seeing her cry, it’s just that I had no idea why she was crying and not knowing made me uncomfortable. Fast forward twenty plus years and I think of her when I blubber over my girl learning to clap, sit up, crawl, laugh, walk, and every other textbook milestone. Although I do claim a slight difference from my mother: I have always tried to hide it. That is, until the one night I couldn’t. I was about to say my typical “I love you” before bed when my daughter looked at me and said “Rie Ruh oo”. I stopped, gave her my full attention, and she repeated “Rie Ruh oo”. “I love you?” I asked. She smiled. “Rie Ruh oo,” she told me again. I had to wipe my eyes, which is when I saw her raise her eyebrows at me. “Yep,” I said. “I’m your mom. I cry at weird things.”

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Pamela Heiner leads a double life. On the surface she's your typical run-of-the-mill wife and mother, but at night all fiction breaks loose. She's a writer who graduated from Utah Valley University with an emphasis in creative writing. She's written pieces for the Standard Examiner, the College Times, and UVU's Warp and Weave magazine.



Shelley said...

Love it Pam! Every word is so true!

Hayley said...

Motherhood isn't a glamorous profession, but man does it have it's perks! Thanks for reminding me Pam!

Quinn said...

Couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks for writing such a great article about that beautiful daughter of ours! :)

krishikaseo1 said...

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