I want to respect and validate my daughter’s feelings even when I’m not sure what, exactly, her wee shouty cry is trying to convey.
Which is why I feel pretty terrible when she gets her pout on and the first words out of my mouth are, “It’s okay, it’s okay, you’re fine, it’s okay.” This seems to me like the beginning of a bad habit. I am really attached to the idea of allowing her to feel what she needs to feel. As long as her behaviors are within the realm of what my husband and I agree is appropriate, I want to let her act out and talk through her sadness, her anger and her confusion. Right now I don’t know what she’s trying to tell me, but when it’s not that she’s wet, tired or hungry – all easily remedied – and when I’m holding her and murmuring softly through The Biggest Fuss That Ever Was, those are always the words I fall back on.
But what I’m realizing is, when I say “it’s okay” or “you’re fine,” I’m not saying, “knock it off.” What I’m really saying is, “Mommy is going to make it okay, she’s going to make you feel fine. And if she can’t, she’s still here for you.”
And I feel a lot better about that.
When I’m sad, angry or confused, often I just want someone to listen to me. Maybe that’s all Miss E wants, too. Hopefully I can take advantage of the next few years when she’s building her vocabulary to work on mine.