Missing Mommy

Recovering from sinus surgery has not been enjoyable to say the least. I got home the Friday before Labor Day from surgery and was pretty out of it for the rest of the weekend. I bled quite a bit and until they took the splints out, pretty much couldn’t breathe out of my nose. Not fun.

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During my recovery weekend, Luke was pretty much sole caregiver for Lila. He also took on the role of being my nurse, so he was pretty busy. I knew it might be a bit of a shock for Lila that I suddenly wasn’t with her as much and had a bandage across my face, but I wasn’t really expecting her to notice too much.

Well once again I underestimated my little girl and how perceptive she is of her world. She did alright with just her dad (plus some nursing visits with mom) for most the weekend, but come Sunday, she had had enough. When she woke up from her afternoon nap and saw that daddy, not mommy, was getting her once again, she lost it.

I could hear her wailing from my room while Luke tried to calm her down. She never cries waking up from a nap, so this was odd. I came out a few minutes later and thought she just wanted some milk. I tried to get her to nurse, but she was not having it. She kept hitting me and arching her back.

I was starting to feel helpless when I remembered something I’ve learned from researching RIE parenting – that sometimes kids just need to express their sad, angry or other negative feelings with our loving presence and nothing more. I decided to just hold her and let her get her tears out without trying to stop her from feeling upset. She sobbed in my arms for a good half hour, throwing her head back and slamming her arms down, before calming down.

When she quieted and rested her head against my chest, I told her “It’s okay to be sad because I haven’t been around as much. I know it’s scary for you to see me hurting. I’ll be better soon and will always be here for you.” I know she probably didn’t understand all of what I was saying, but getting her emotions out and hearing the validation from me seemed to resolve her anxiety.

I spent the afternoon sitting on the couch while she played nearby, giving her smiles when she’d look over at me. She sat in my lap quite a bit too and just wanting to be near me.

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It’s been about a week and a half since surgery and I’m much, much better. I can breathe easier, there’s no more bleeding and I’m just a bit congested. Lila is doing better too. Things are back to normal in her world, which means she gets all the mommy time she wants.

If you’re interested in RIE parenting, I’d suggest checking out these blogs:






Quietly Observing

When I first had Lila, I felt pressure to be actively engaged with her when she was awake. I’d talk to her. Sing to her. Move her body. But it all felt forced and unnatural. And it was exhausting us both.

A few months in I was researching parenting styles and came across RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers). I read up a bit and instantly really liked the approach. I’ll write about it more another time, but basically the jist is respecting your baby as a whole person who is capable on their own.

One of the main elements of RIE is to provide your baby with opportunities to play independently without much interference or guidance from mom or dad. They say the best thing you can do is to observe your child in play. Provide a loving presence, but don’t direct a la “the circle block goes in this hole not that one” etc.

Well this has turned out to be one of my favorite things to do with Lila. And it’s removed all the pressure I felt to be “always on.”


The morning is usually when she does her best independent play. I will set her on the floor with some simple toys and she will go to town for a good hour or so. I will make myself a latte and sit quietly with my back leaning against the couch watching her.

Every now and then she’ll look up at me and I’ll give her a smile, but I’m careful not to “show” her how to play with something or talk to her too much. I don’t want to break her concentration on what she’s doing. Because after all – play is how babies learn.

This morning she crawled over to her basket of books and got one out. This book had a hole through the pages that she was enthralled with. For a 45 mins she flipped that book around. Opened and shut pages. Put her fist through the hole. Banged the whole book on the floor. And of course, chewed on the edges.

The joy that she got from discovering one book was awesome. And it was so rewarding to just watch her explore her world while sipping my coffee. I feel like in those moments I get a window into her world and her budding personality.

This form of parenting might come off as lazy to some. Especially in a world of mandarin classes for two-year-olds. But I subscribe to the notion that parenting should be enjoyable. Not something that leaves us exhausted and constantly worrying if we’re doing enough. And there are few things I enjoy more than having a slow morning watching my girl absorbed in her play.