By Colleen Lowe Smith
Cassidy is not yet two and a half yet and I knew this time would come. It started the other afternoon when I woke her up from her nap. I didn’t want her to stay up late, and it had already been two hours. It could have been a growth spurt, needing that extra sleep, who knows. I should have let her stay in bed. Instead she roused in protest, wailing, and was inconsolable for the next 45 minutes. She ran away from me, hiding under chairs and tables, delirious and crying, “Go away, Mommy!”
Go Away Mommy. I knew this would happen one day. And out of respect and grace, I told her to come find me if she needed me and left her alone. It was the oddest feeling, this witnessing of her autonomy and growing independence. I was cheering on one hand, and crying on the other.
But, you know, she was tired, I woke her up too early, it was my fault, really. She’s still my baby and everything, right?
I worked a long day yesterday. Working is still fairly new after being home with her for two years, and I can’t wait to see her by dinnertime when I get home. “Cassidy! I missed you! Can I have a hug and a kiss?”
“Ummm.... no. Not right now.”
Ouch. I want to plead and protest and guilt her into giving me some love, but I just say “Well I would love a hug and kiss later, when you’re willing.”
“Okay, Mommy. Maybe later.”
The kiss and hug does come later, of course. As does, apparently, this period of selective attention.
Right now I am relegated to the playroom while she dines with her Daddy. She pulled two small plastic chairs to the night table I brought downstairs to get rid of. How silly of me. It is a perfect size for her. “Can I eat my dinner at the baby table?” Of course. “Daddy, you want to eat your nice dinner with me at this baby table?” I had already finished eating so Cassidy tells me, “You go in the playroom. Me and Daddy have nice dinner at this table.”
When did this happen? My husband used to call me Mommy-God. He also told me not to worry, that one day things would change and she would want to be with him. And that it would go back and forth. I knew he was right, but I had no idea it would happen so soon.
Colleen Lowe Smith lived as a wanderer and Montessori pre-school teacher in ten different states and New Zealand before meeting her husband and landing in rural Massachusetts. Together, they raise their two year old daughter, and pigs. She also has a 14 year old stepdaughter and 24 year old stepson. Obsessed with higher education, Colleen has an BA in Studio Art, a MA in Interdisciplinary Studies (Human Studies), a MFA in Writing, as well as AMI certifications in Montessori education, and Psychosynthesis, a holistic form of psychotherapy. She currently teaches at an awesome Montessori school where her daughter also attends.