As I am Christmas shopping for my little one this year, I keep seeing that message. Choking hazard. Not intended for children under the age of 3.
Obviously not appropriate for my kid, then. I click away, looking for something safe and colorful and squishy and preferably cause-and-effect. You know, 1 year old kid toys. Because she's 1.
Reality shift. She's a kid. A kid-kid. She's the three year old these toys were intended for. She's the small font number on the side of the box: 3+. She can handle choking hazards and toys meant for children with developed fine motor skills.
When I watch her sleep, her face doesn't look like a baby anymore. I catch a sneak peek of the child she is become and on some nights, even of the beautiful teenage girl she will be.
Sometimes I wonder if I've already blown it - passed on all the anxiety, depression, moodiness, and crazy that comes with me. Should I have snuggled less, put more distance between us so she would have an easier time at school? Should I have sleep trained her earlier, so she wouldn't come sobbing out of her room at 9:30PM that she just can't fall asleep? Did she get my insomnia? Did I already fuck this parenting thing up?
How early can you really screw it up, I wonder?
I try to imagine how it would have been if we did cry it out, like everyone said to do. Would not have felt good at all.
I imagine what it would have been like not to co-sleep, missing all the lovely moments and security of creating that bond at night, since both parents were working during the day. To feel connected when sometimes I only saw her an hour a day.
I imagine what it would have been like to put her down, not rock her to sleep, drop-and-run those early days at day care instead of hanging out until she was comfortable. Maybe she'd be more well-adjusted now.
Would I be?
How do you know whether or not what gives you peace in your parenting is the right thing for your child?
She is sweet and kind to others. She is thoughtful, she brings one lovey for her and one for me. She loves her friends and is a liberal hug-giver. She is my little buddy and my little helper. She strokes my hair at night and says, "Go to sleep, little one. Now close your eyes". She cheerfully greeted patients at my husband's hospital with a "Happy Thanksgiving," and kept all her little questions close to her heart until we were back in the car. She has a sixth sense.
Can I have messed up too bad to have brought this little creature up how she is?
We did great.
Bring it on. Bring it all on - everything intended for ages three and up. We got this.