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Bad Mommy! I told Dd she can do it herself.

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Dd is 17 months, very Mama-centric, and loves to be carried most everywhere. Once she discovered she could walk and run, she said, enough of this, I want to be carried everywhere after all.

She is 17 months. When Dh comes home usually I'm making dinner with one hand, Dd is in my other arm, often hanging by a nipple. Dh calls her Tiny Tim!

Well I have a bad back that isn't getting better; every time I go to the DO, all my adjustments have pulled back out. And yesterday we were in a minor car accident in which my chest got hit against the carseat (caution to carseat-nursers). So now when I pick Dd up in the way that protects my back (I basically tighten my whole chest), my chest kills me.

So today she signed that she wanted some stuffed animals in the bed before she would nap. I said OK, lets get out of bed and get some animals. She rolled out of bed but stopped at the bedroom door, like there was a forcefield. She extended her arms and cried piteously. This has happened before and I've picked her up (before she's gotten to this stage of crying), but with this new chest injury I really feel like to heal, I have to give it some rest.

I told Dd that I know she wants to be carried but wouldn't it be fun to go get the animals herself? You can walk wherever you want, get whoever you want, etc.

She begrudgingly walked toward me, reached up, pointed to the desired animal. By then she was so close to it, I encouraged her along. She grabbed it, moved pretty quickly back to the bedroom, climbed up back into bed, nursed to sleep with the animal at her feet.

I have always felt that when Dd was ready, she would not ask to be carried so much. But I did not expect a rather serious back problem to intervene. Am I terrible for making her do it herself?

I think there are times I just cannot pick her up as much as she would like (all day, every day). How can gently encourage Dd to explore her abilities?
post #2 of 13
She soundds like she handled it just fine once she knew what was expected of her. You are not a terrible mommy. There is really no harm in expecting a child her age to do a few things for themselves. It isn't as if you request was unreasonable. and she really didn't seem to mind.
post #3 of 13
If you are a martyr and sacrifice your health for your baby, you are also being a role model for over-sacrifice. When I looked at things this way, that how I take care of myself is part of my teaching, I really had to re-evaluate all the sacrificing I do for ds. Children are so flexible and can grow up fine with a disabled parent, and under various conditions. If your love and intentions are pure, you are giving her everything. The more guilt you carry, the more she learns to feel guilt too. Can you recognize the parts of yourself that are still a baby and need the tenderness and care you give to dd?
post #4 of 13
I think you did just fine. Indeed, martyrdom is best left to the experts (like my mother! ).

After a long love affair with walking, my DS went through a wanting to be carried everywhere phase (mainly when we were out and about). After a month or so, I was starting to get rather tired of it... I simply encouraged him not unlike you did with your DD and after a couple of weeks he stopped asking to be carried so often. It was literally a load off!

Now, he walks along with me just about everywhere and enjoys himself very much. He stills asks to be carried once and a while and I'm great with that, I just scoop him right up because usually it's been so long, that I actually miss us snuggling up and walking along!

Best of luck and I do hope your back is feeling better soon.
post #5 of 13
Originally posted by Cindi
If you are a martyr and sacrifice your health for your baby, you are also being a role model for over-sacrifice. When I looked at things this way, that how I take care of myself is part of my teaching, I really had to re-evaluate all the sacrificing I do for ds.
Cindi, that is soo true! I never thought of it that way but you are absolutely right.

Curious, sounds to me like she did just fine. She knows you love her more than anything and you were standing there supporting her. I think you did great!

post #6 of 13
I think you did fine too, maybe you could work on some fun ways of walking. Seems like at that age my boys thought walking backwards was fun, or if you are going to get the teddy bear you could walk like a bear, or waddle like a duck to the tub!!
post #7 of 13
Sounds like you did it just fine to me!
I also agree with what Cindi said.
Have you explained simply to dd that you have owies, and that carrying her makes them worse? Information is always good for them.
post #8 of 13
I think that you deserve a congratulations for taking a big step in your parenting process. It is so hard to not always fo what your child wants when it is not in the best interest of yourself, and at some point I think you have to start drawing the line so that they can gain the independance to do for themselves. PLease PLEASE continue to take care of yourself. Back problems can get way to serious if you do not let them heal properly. Have you thought about ROLFING? It has done wonders for my serious back issues. Once again congratulations for letting yourself heal! You sound like a terrific mamma to me!
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the encouragement, and Cindi, for the tough love.

Yesterday Dd wanted me to carry her to her dining table, and I sat in one of the chairs and called her to stroll over and join me. She cried, and Dh, who is not accustomed (any more than I am) to hearing her cry, picked her up and carried her to me (all of 4 feet).

He has been encouraging me for weeks to spare my back, but the crying is so hard to take, we're both finding it hard to go from the appropriate response to a more helpless infant, to letting a more mature child speak her mind. Which at this age, comes as a cry.

I told him that thee time had arrived for Dd to start seeing that one person can do what's right for them, even if someone else doesn't like it. Especially if a courteous explanation is given. I told him that this is the start of an important lesson for a girl, and will be handy when she is older and in dating situations.

Mom says "I'd rather not carry you but please join me at the table," and that can become "I'd rather not go back to your room and drink a bottle of wine, but please join my friends and me for pizza." Whole grain, organic pizza, of course!
post #10 of 13
You are not a bad mommy at all!!! It's very important to take care of yourself and stick up for your own needs!

My mom seriously injured her back when my little brother was 2-1/2 and still enjoyed being carried a lot. Suddenly, not only was she unable to lift him AT ALL, but she was spending several hours a day in traction! He was very upset, but he adjusted after only a week or so. I also had to adjust to not having so many things done for me. It helped that mom maintained a very friendly, non-rejecting attitude, so that we felt she was happy to have us around but just couldn't do certain things. She would ask us to do things for her and make a big happy fuss over how pleased she was and how grown-up we were to be able to do that, so we felt helpful rather than deprived. It also helped to have daddy spending a little time carrying us and "doing tricks" when he got home.

Good luck with your injuries!
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 


Dd will only drink out of an open cup, and I keep one in the kitchen because she doesn't understand gravity yet and that the cup must be kept upright or the water is lost. She was accustomed to signing for water and raising her arms to be carried, which I did because the water was up on a counter anyway.

Yesterday we had a little upset when I encouraged her to walk to the kitchen, "walk where you want to go and I'll follow you," I said. She cried the whole way...but today she signed for water and immediately started walking toward the kitchen. Got her water with nothing but a smile.

Progress! Thanks again for the support.
post #12 of 13
Great job! There have been so many transitions we've worked through that felt so cruel or unbearably painful for ds, only to emerge on the other side with a "wow" at the amazing new possibilities. Growing is not without pain and you will not be able to keep you baby pain-free, nor would that benefit her. Like when we fall, if we are always picked up, how will we ever learn how to pick ourselves up? Some kids I know are so terribly helpless when they meet pain, while others are beautiful to watch through the struggle. (And then there are adults, ha!)
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

How exactly did you approach this with your Ds? Dd has accepted that she will walk to the kitchen for water, but hasn't relinquished much other holding opportunties without unhappiness. I am less predictable that I will definetly carry her when she raises her arms or cries. I suggest options, I bed down to be with her, I walk to her table and chair set so she can walk to me and I'll be down with her instead of high up (she loves seeing what I'm doing).

Other times I carry her just as before. I'm trying to pace myself and judge how much she really needs the carrying. Like if she wants a toy that's a few steps away, I encourage her to walk. But if she's seeming just in need of contact, I carry her.

All I've noticed is that she seems to have converted one means of getting into my arms to another - she wants to nurse almost constantly.

Dd calls...
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