I went to the grocery store with my youngest son. It was such a peaceful experience. I arrived at the store and put my sweet baby boy in his carrier. I got a shopping cart with a cup holder and proceeded directly to the Starbucks strategically located at the entrance to the store. I walked through the store sipping on my favorite drink and picking out food for my little family. I was silent except for the periodic whispered “I love you” to my baby followed by a kiss on his head.
I did not have to explain to a 30 lb toddler to put his feet in holes for his legs in the grocery cart while holding him in the air. I didn’t have to talk about all the vegetables we walked past. I didn’t have to explain that you can only have 1 free cookie or no free cookie if a sweet had already been had. I didn’t have to rush to keep jelly jars on the shelf as Godzilla toddler thrust his arms out as the shopping cart went down the aisle. I didn’t have to tell him to sit down in the cart. I didn’t have to tell him to stop grabbing the candy in the check out line and I didn’t have to say “No you cant hold the eggs.”
It was glorious. But I felt guilty…
I did not feel guilty for reveling in the break from my toddler. I felt guilty for not talking to my baby. I felt guilty for the silence.
Before my first son was born I read an article somewhere on the interwebs about a study that had been performed on babies through their toddler years when it came to adult verbal interactions. I can’t for the life of me remember where I found this article. I took from it that verbal communication is absolutely necessary for your childs development(duh. I don’t know why I needed to read this online) and that there are parents out there that do not talk to their kids which messes them up for life. I determined that I would fill my childs ears with the sound of my voice constantly and he would be an excellent communicator by the age of 2. I did. And he is.
I talked to my son ALL DAY LONG. EVERY SINGLE DAY. I explained everything we did and everywhere we went. I sang or talked to him continually even if there was really nothing to say or talk about. He now talks. CONSTANTLY. This probably has more to do with him being a toddler but because of my neurotic ideas about not wanting him to be intellectually deficient, I missed out on the silent moments.
So here I am. Baby #2 and I feel like I am short changing him on my time and attention. I talk so much to my older child because he is always talking that when I’m alone with my youngest the last thing I want is words to break the silence.
There is not much of a conclusion to these thoughts. More of wondering musings of how to parent two instead of one. Now that we have hit the 6th month its easier to interact simply because he is more attentive. I include him in the conversations about Thomas the train, towers, bulldozers and cookies. But I also don’t want to feel guilty about enjoying my quiet times with him. The silence will only become more scarce in my house. I didn’t cherish it with my first. I wan to cherish it with my second. I want him to know I don’t love him less because I’m quiet.
I am going to have to accept that I will not have the same kind of time with my youngest that I did with my oldest. So from now I want to intentionally get my alone time with him. So I can talk to him or just be silent.
One thing is for sure I can’t spend my periodic moments with him feeling guilty. That is a waste of my precious time with him.