Recently, my husband and I have been joking about ourselves as the slaves to our young baby, Elka. Actually, it’s not a joke. We are slaves. She is the boss! For months now, we have been following her lead, as she raises her hand to imply: “I will walk now, take me!” It is incredibly cute and irresistible, but we were finding that very little else was being achieved. One parent, or grandparent, was always on Elka duty and the other was free to work or wash up or whatever.
And as you will see in the last post, there was a slowly escalating drama over tea time…again, Elka called the shots, and things were getting a bit crazy.
I am not a big fan of reading up, but I was getting to the point where I needed to read something to give me a picture of how to handle the situation.
And then I came across this article: “Who’s in control?” by Jean Liedloff http://www.continuum-concept.org/reading/whosInControl.html
It is very interesting reading, and gave me a very useful insight. The next day (ie yesterday) was consequently one of the nicest days I have ever had with Elka. I was dreading the day a little, as we had been up MANY times that night and Greg was working all day, and it was raining, so not even the garden was an option. But I had a new tool – an understanding that I am boss, and as a parent, Elka needs my leadership, not the other way round. And so the day unfolded without whinging or crying, just lovely beautiful cuddles, lots of reading and playing, me doing the washing up, the laundry, the sweeping and the cooking (none or few of which I usually achieve). Elka ate all her dinner happily, and went to bed like a little angel. I listened to her needs, she apparently listened to mine, and we got on famously!
It’s not force. Or control. Or authority. It’s a subtle playing out of leadership. Elka is a very little lady, and she looks to the adults and the older children for direction about what to do next. I am all for baby-led parenting when it comes to when to feed, when to sleep etc. but it was high time I took some leadership in the parenting department. It is funny how you find the right article at exactly the right time!