Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I'm struggling as a parent these days, trying to help my daughter overcome some pre-schooler 'anti-social' behaviour. While racking my brains for what I can do (I feel like I've tried everything), I suddenly remembered the 'Colic Parole' that I had read when my first born was a new born. In retrospect, it was not colic, I was just an anxious new mother. But it was my first parenting challenge and I remember being really touched by these words. Although we haven't beaten this problem, it has forced me to pay closer attention to my daughter's needs and to get down and feel what she's going through. We have a better connection now -- I can feel the love. And that's all I really need to know -- love will get us through this little blip.
The Colic Parole (sorry, I can't remember the parenting book this is from)
It was the day of the annual baby give-away, when excited couples gathered together to choose the baby that was to be theirs for life. "I have before me a cherubic, loving baby who makes few demands -- a wonderful baby boy", said the auctioneer. "Who will have him?" "We will!" "We will!" "Give him to us!" mothers- and fathers-to-be shouted. The response was so noisy even the usually quiet contented baby began to whimper. The auctioneer banged his gavel for silence.
After much excited talk and negotiation, an eager young couple in the front of the room was awarded the boy. They proudly walked out, carrying him home. Next came a sweet-looking, smiling baby girl with a tiny pink ribbon in her hair. She was awarded to an older, childless couple in the room who had longed for a child for over a decade. And so the day went, with babies being presented, then awarded to the couples who seemed the right match for them.
Finally the auctioneer held up a tiny, screaming, red-faced baby. "I have here a little boy who will cry for months after you take him home. You will lose a lot of sleep. He will seem not to appreciate you ministrations, and you will spend many hours of anguish over him. Do I have any bidders?"
No hands went up. In fact, the room became deadly silent. No one wanted to suffer with such a baby. "Ladies and gentlemen," the auctioneer pleaded, leaning over his podium and peering out into the faces of the couples. "Surely someone wants to have this dear, suffering baby?" People squirmed in their seats and looked at each other, but still no one raised a hand. "Whoever takes this baby will grow with him," said the auctioneer, who was a wise man. "This baby will break his parent's hearts and then remold them to three times larger than they were before. He will teach his parents how to truly love."
A young couple in the very back of the room rose slowly and walked to the front, hand in hand. "We will take this baby, sir," the father-to-be said, a serious look on his face. He reached out tenderly toward the tiny, crying infant and handed him to his wife. Their faces were solemn, because they knew they were taking on a hard job. As they walked from the room holding the baby, he hushed for a moment, as though grateful for their stepping forward.
"That couple will be more blessed than all of the others put together", the auctioneer was heard to say as he put away his gavel for the year. "By choosing to love a baby who isn't lovable, they have surely found the path to true compassion."
And so they had.