Ooooooo-Kay. L is at that “put everything in his mouth and lick every rock” stage and I was curious as to why. Just why. I wasn’t worried or concerned, I didn’t want to stop it. I wanted to understand what he gets out of licking a rock. So I hit up Google and was bombarded with forums and medical reports that linked ADHD, developmental delays or mineral deficiencies as possible causes. The. Kid. Licks. Rocks. Can we just fuck off with all the excess fear I am supposed to have at every turn of this parenting ride. I guess it’s my fault for thinking the internet should provide me with deep insight when all along I know the answer is simply because he is curious.
When I was pregnant people would look at me with fear and sympathy as they processed my “pregnant with twins” diagnosis. Even my own (wonderful) father-in-law mistook my tears of joy as tears of fear when we told him we were having twins. Everyone assumed J and I were scared. Well we weren’t. We made a very conscious decision to become pregnant and start a family. Getting pregnant with twins was a surprise sure, but I was lucky to have grown up with twin-sisters so I knew exactly what a blessing it was. We live in an age where information is readily available but at the same time it seems to always come with a side of fear. So when I Googled “why does my kid lick rocks” I didn’t find “because the texture interests him“, I found “because he is sick and possibly dying” followed by “hopefully he doesn’t sit in a W or else he will also have hip issues and if you didn’t spend so much time posting his photo on Facebook you would know how to be a Tiger Mother and focus on bringing up Bebé rather than being such a narcissist” Hopefully you have all read the hilarious rant by Ana Nayer (a mom of twins) who captures this frustration perfectly.
You can read almost ANY blog these days (including mine) and find similar stories, frustrations and realizations. Here’s where I am with this: I am not afraid of parenting. I am (and have always been) a “think outside of the box” pleaser and this contrast makes change hard for me. My response to parenting has been the same as it is to every major change in my life: I want to do it my own way, I assume I am doing it wrong, I struggle to see I am doing okay, I get frustrated when I am offered help, I overanalyze/share with friends and family and then eventually find my path and enjoy the journey (yes – it’s exhausting). Every time I search for parenting insight I am reminded that life is circumstantial and I am searching for answers I will never find. I recently read an article on letting go of Perfectionism and honestly I had to read it a few times because it kept hitting an emotional chord with me particularly the line “The trick is to face our fear and have the courage to accept our abilities, exactly as they are.” So while I try to understand that I am not a failure for finding challenges in my new role as a mother and the reason I get overwhelmed is simply because this is all overwhelming (not because I should FEAR motherhood) I can’t help but admire L for his very natural approach to life: I am – therefore I lick the rock.