Letting go of control bit by bit

You know you have a problem with something when you’re talking to your husband about it and he suggests you blog about it.  At least that’s what happens around here.  I was griping to him at bed time the other night how much I missed the Sleep Sack for our toddler.  I loved how when she was smaller we could put her in a Sleep Sack in her crib and I knew she’d be covered all night long.  These days, she’s in a regular bed and has a blanket and sheet that she manages.  We’re in a tricky time of year.  When she went to bed one night last week it was warm enough for her to wear a short-sleeved nightgown, but I read (after she went to bed) that we were under a freeze adviser from 3 to 9 a.m.  Ugh.  So I started worrying about her.  I snuck in and turned on her heater before I went to bed.  (Her room is cold with the door closed, so we have a thermostat-controlled, cool-to-the-touch personal heater in there to use during cold weather.)

My kiddo back in September of 2010 wearing a Sleep Sack in her crib. I miss those days when I knew it'd stay on her and she'd be warm. We used a Sleep Sack until she was just over 1-1/2 for that reason.

As I was moaning to Chris about how I missed the easier Sleep Sack days, he told me to blog about it.  “Blog about Sleep Sacks?” I asked.  “No, blog about how it’s hard to lose control.”

Yikes!  I do perhaps have control issues with my child.  I think it comes with motherhood.  The problem is that kids grow up and slowly we lose more and more control.  The Sleep Sack issue is just one thing.  Another is that I’ve been working with her recently to walk at the grocery store or Target instead of riding in the cart.  She’s super excited about this, but I’m not quite as excited.  I know it needs to be done.  After all, the carts are only so big so she’ll outgrow them at some point.  But, letting  her walk means I lose control over what she does.  Well, I don’t lose all control.  The deal is she has to follow my instructions or she goes into the cart.  However, I don’t have the complete control as I do when she’s in the cart.  I have to watch out that she’s not in some absent-minded shopper’s cart path.  I have to make sure she’s not taking a bite out of the raw green beans in the produce section (oops!).  There are all sorts of things that come up that now I have to deal with that I didn’t before.  She’s able to do more of her own thing.

I also remember when I could just feed her baby food and she’d eat it.  Well, not always, but most of the time.  And she didn’t tell me I made it incorrectly like she sometimes does now.  She didn’t ask for specific things.  I had complete control of what she ate back then.  I don’t have as much now.  It will definitely get more pronounced as time goes on.  The same is true with what she wears.  She’s already voicing her opinions on clothes and that will definitely increase as she gets older.  After all, my mom no longer dictates what I eat or wear; she hasn’t in years.

I’ve struggled to leave her with other people because I don’t know exactly what will happen while I’m away.  But, I remind myself that I trust these other people (my parents and my in-laws) or else I wouldn’t leave her with them.  Do I give them instructions?  Yeah.  Not as much as I once did, because her care is simpler these days and she definitely speaks for herself.  But, I have to let go sometimes and let it be.

The silliest part is that I don’t actually have control over much.  From the time she was a newborn, she let me know when she was hungry or had a dirty diaper or was tired.  As a baby, she totally dictated when I slept, when I ate, when I did anything.  That’s OK.  That’s how babies are.  That’s still the truth in many ways.  I guess to make up for that, I like to have control over the things I can have a say in: what she eats, where we go, how covered up she is, etc.  I also want to control these things because I desperately want her to be happy and healthy.  I want her to be warm at night so she can sleep well.  I want her to eat good food so she can be healthy and grow big and strong.

I know with each phase she goes through as she grows up, I will slowly lose more and more control.  It’s not all that fun to me, but it’s definitely part of life.  I’m learning to let go in little bits here and there.  It sucks.  But, I think that old saying is true: “If you love something, let it go.  If it doesn’t come back to you, it was never truly yours in the first place.”  The thing is, my mom went through all these things with me (just like every mother does).  And these days she’s my best friend with whom I talk pretty much daily.  I’m hoping and praying that as I let Lexiana “go” and give up control over these next 16 years the same will eventually be true for us.

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