Baobao has been fairly patient with me, who had been mostly dazed from around the clock nursing and getting over digestive problems that lasted three eternal weeks. The poor kid had to figure out ways to keep herself entertained and occupied during my recovery, because mommy barely managed to fix meals and snacks and not much else.
Guilt was an understatement while my body healed, but I refused to let rules slide or make promises to placate the toddler. So there were tense moments of power struggle, and maybe it was unfair to put a three-year-old in that situation. I don’t know, my secret hope was that children’s innate resilience would somehow carry Baobao through and she would, at the end, forgive my many shortcomings.
I could hear the anxiety in Baobao’s voice when she watched me groan in pain and close my eyes from exhaustion, “Mommy, are you going to sleep?” I knew the toddler was anxious about the prospect of being left alone to play, about losing THE person to talk to or to interact with, but gosh I was not functioning at all.
So Baobao sought amusement around the house and created. She made up new games with existing toys, practiced towel folding because she wanted to, and jumped on as many things as she could get away with.
When I wasn’t able to keep tab on the amazing three-year-old, she somehow balanced the chaise cushion between the coffee table and the edge of the chaise, essentially furnishing a hammock of sorts. Then she must have carefully laid the three layers of blankets on the suspended coushion judging by the aligned corners of the blankets. All this exquisite effort so she could take a nap in new comfort, and to experience the unanticipated fall when she woke up from her nap.
When I wasn’t looking, my child grew up without me.