It is so easy as a parent of very young children to always see yourself as the one in the know. It is logical, after all, that with years of experience under our belts, we should be the ones who are right. We must, by virtue of our age, size, or something like that, be the ones calling the shots. Yet Jasmin reminded me of something so important recently, and in doing so she taught me a valuable lesson.
On the first day of our holiday in Kos, I tried to take Jasmin swimming. Our hotel had a choice of three children’s pools as well as two adult pools. Milin was immediately paddling away, playing with inflatable toys and plastic beach ware. He loved it.
And so, with ten-month-old Jasmin on my hip, I walked into the pool where Milin was playing. Jasmin screamed. Loudly. I tired to splash water over her toes. I tried to sing and play games. Nothing worked. Jasmin clung to me with all her might and sobbed. I walked her out of the water in defeat.
For the next few days, Jasmin sat on a lounger near the pool and watched. She watched Milin play. She watched the other children play. She watched people swim and throw frisbees and splash each other and laugh and enjoy. She took it all in.
A couple of days before we left, I took notice of Jasmin’s joy at watching her brother in the water. She kicked her feet and waved her arms. She wanted, I realised, to join in.
I sat her on the edge of the pool and let her splash. There were no tears. Jasmin loved the water.
For the last two days of our holiday, we took Jasmin in the water as much as we could. She kicked her feet in the waves at the beach and her face lit up. We took her into the deep water of the adults pools and played games with her. It made her so happy, and I loved watching her have so much fun.
Yet I hope I remember this lesson from Jasmin. She taught me not to push her. She taught me that she will do things in her own time. She taught me to listen to her. She taught me that the pace I expect her to move at, might not be the one that is right for her.
Jasmin needed time to take in new surroundings and new experiences. She needed time to settle and feel at ease. She didn’t let me push her. She took the time she needed to get comfortable in her new environment. She watched the other children swimming, splashing and paddling. Only when she was ready, did she take the plunge.
I might be older and bigger and supposedly wiser, but I also need to remember to listen to my baby. She will do things her way and in her time. I don’t want to push her away from a pace that is right for her. I’m going to continue to parent by listening to my instincts, but I’m also going to ensure I’m listening to my baby more too. She might learn things and approach life in a different way to me. That’s fine – but it’s my job to notice and help her along her way.