She knows she’s got me. It’s apparent by her toothy grin. Even when she arches her back, bends her body like Neo to the floor, and flops around like a fish out of water. She knows. So I simply breathe.
On a good day, that is. On a good day when I have time, and calm, and patience, and nowhere to be — to lean into the checklist of “what could be’s” of gentle parenting. Unfortunately, that’s simply a privilege not many can afford. And certainly not every day. And not on very little sleep. (And not on very little caffeine, if that’s your thing.)
Yet, here we are. She’s been fed. Not overtired. Not under tired. We’ve stuck to a routine. Not much screen time. So what could it possibly be?
Maybe the world is just too big sometimes. Maybe it’s independence. Maybe she doesn’t have the words. Maybe she’s picking up on energy. Maybe it’s just how she feels.
The reality is, I, too, feel like that some days. So I join her. I join her on the floor, scrunch up my face, and whine. I half throw/half drop my jacket in the dramatic way only a former theatre major could and just lay there with her.
And you know what she does? She leans her sweet little head over, looks over at me, and smiles. Missing teeth and all.
So maybe that was it. This whole time, maybe she just wanted to be heard. Maybe she just wanted to be understood. Maybe she just wanted someone at her level for once. No guidance, even if I thought I was helping. No orders, even if it was “for her own good.” And no direction, even if it was for her own safety. Maybe she just wanted me to be there with her. On the floor, and let her let it out.
So, my sweetheart of a daughter. Have at it. I won’t always be there, and eventually you’ll have to figure it out. And yes, “This too shall pass.” But for now, lay on that floor and just let it all out. But for goodness sake, let’s try this at home. Because security is looking at us funny. Apparently, this isn’t acceptable at the mall. For either of us.