As a mother it takes time to get to know the child you just brought into the world. When they are born, the only way they know how to speak to you is by a cry. Their cry could mean anything really. They could be telling you they are hungry, tired, want a new diaper, or that they are hurt. As they become older, we start to decipher their cries to learn what they mean. Soon after, they learn to communicate with us, whether it’s through words or through signs.
I started teaching Harlan sign language at a young age. At just two months old I would sign to her during our nursing sessions teaching her what the sign for “milk” was. She said her first word at eight months and was signing to me by ten months. By 17 months she was speaking complete sentences.
Now, at two and a half years old, we can have complete conversations about anything her heart desires. It’s so amazing to listen to her stories of what happens to her in school that day, or to hear her sing one of her favorite songs. Although we could talk for hours to one another, I’ve noticed lately that she isn’t fully able to tell me everything.
When we brought Avery home I knew there was going to be some transition with all of us. We grew from a family of three to one of four. I had to get used to having a newborn at home and sharing my time with two little girls, MacKay had to get used to newborn life for the first time (he was gone when Harlan was in this stage,) and Harlan had to get used to having a sister in the house as well as not having our attention all the time.
Harlan reacted really well to having her sister home and you could watch her fall in love day after day with Avery. As the days and weeks have now turned into a month, Harlan has started to realize that she’s not getting as much of me as she did before. As much as I want to be able to spend all this time with her, it’s physically impossible for me to do that because Avery is very dependent on me right now.
This little girl who was always so joyful is now starting to show a little bit more of a feisty side to her. Tantrums are much more rampant in our household. She’s had a lot more accidents in her pants and is much less willing to do what is asked of her than ever before.
This could just be a coming of age thing. She is two and a half years old and we’ve all heard of the terrible twos. Or is it more than that? Is she reacting to the changes going on at home and this is her way of crying out for attention?
For the first time in a long time, I don’t understand what she is trying to tell me.
We’ve gone out, just the two of us, in my attempt to show her she still matters.
But is that enough? Is that what she really wants?
Through this communication “gap,” it’s made me realize that there is so much more to motherhood that I still need to learn. My daughter is evolving, and although she can talk to me about her latest Disney Princess obsession, she’s unable to “tell” me everything. As we both get through this stage, the one thing I can tell her, and what matters most is how much I love her.