The learning curve was vicious at first, but I've come a long way. I feel that I can say I've come a long way with conviction. You see, while I had these grandiose visions of instantly knowing all the answers before I was a mom, along the way, it has become clear to me that I still have so, so much to learn.
And that sometimes, my kids teach me the most important lessons.
Take my youngest for example. Or should I say my baby. He has taught me volumes.
He ran into my arms ~ and therefore into my life ~ at nearly 35 months old. He had been the apple of his foster mother's eye. Because we were confident that he had been well loved in his younger days, my first instinct was to treat him as an older toddler instead of an infant.
But even though he was just shy of three, he wasn't ready to be a big boy yet. And he let me know about it.
It started about two months after he came home ~ as soon as he had enough vocabulary to express himself. Since then we've had a nightly post-bath ritual. He gets out of the tub and immediately comes to find me. Then he stands with outstretched arms while saying, "I baby Mommy!" That is my signal to scoop him up into my arms and cradle him for a few minutes.
We spend the time looking into each other's eyes with him making little cooing noises. In that time it is just him and me, no distractions by siblings competing for my attention. Then, as quickly as it begins, he ends our bonding time with puckered lips (waiting for a kiss) and a wiggly, "Get down Mommy," and then he is gone, in search of his favorite Lightning McQueen pajamas.
The whole routine lasts just about two to three minutes a night. But those sweet little moments are golden. They have helped further cement our mother/son relationship and have given me back a precious time with him that I otherwise would have missed.
I'm so thankful he let me know that he still has a little baby left in him after all. And that I had the insight to listen...