It Is Not Okay to Pick Your Son’s Nose When He Has Just Woken Up
At least give him a few minutes. Seriously, Leanna.
It is, however, at times okay to pick your son’s nose even when he is protesting, because you are his mother and know best, and it will be a long time before he will be able to blow his nose. (Although, at two years old, he does know how to pick his nose already. He’s just not quite as good at it as you are).
Lately I have been thinking a lot about personal space. Mothers are notorious for not respecting their children’s personal space, in large part because, well, they literally came out of ours! Mothers often identify so much with their little ones that it is hard for us to remember, especially in the early years, that they are distinct beings with their own rights. And noses.
After all, how many times have you caught yourself saying, “Okay, time to change our diaper!”? Our diaper? Really? (Although, thanks perhaps to inadequate Kegel exercises, this day isn’t really so far away).
So where do we draw the line? I don’t think it’s okay to let little ones make all their own choices about their bodies – diapers do need to be changed and naps do need to be taken – but at the same time I can relate to not wanting someone else’s fingers up in my nasal cavities when I’m just drifting out of dreamland.
Then again, those fingers belong to the same person who has given up spot on the bed, her place at the kitchen table, and (frequently) her dignity sanity for me, so maybe the invasion of privacy goes both ways.
What are your thoughts? How do we respect our children’s personal space? What is age appropriate?
This post reminded me of a poem I came across in a ‘Mothering’ magazine when my first child was still an infant…it was a poem that I really ‘got’. I wrote it in my nursing journal (so named because that was the only time I found for journaling – the journals ended when the babies were weaned). I admire you for continuing your journaling and for sharing it with others so that we (I) can benefit from the insights gleaned from your experience with this most blessed occupation.
Anyway….here is the poem…
Already I know how to annoy you,
who only wants to suck and dream of milk
while I, like a mother chimp in a National Geographic special,
scrape the flakes of cradle cap from your scalp,
trim your paper-thin nails with my teeth,
wipe the wax out of your ear with the tip of my pinkey.
I want to be a good mother.
But this morning I did not get to you quickly enough
My dream wrapped around me like a blanket I could not kick off.
By the time I rubbed my nipple against your mouth you were angry,
and shook your head until finally you drank,
only to fall back asleep.
Was it enough?
Sometimes you smile only for me.
Will I sour, like milk?
One day I will reach over to touch your hair and you may look away.
So I trace your eyebrow with my thumb
as I might trace your future, memorize the soft butter of you skin
and hope that you will never
move across country,
never marry a woman who hates me,
never stop wanting me
to look at you like I am looking at you
as you suck, suck, suck on the certainty
of this sweet milk,
then rest your head on the pillow of my breast,
the pillow where, for now, both of our dreams
Aw, Nadia, I love it! Thank you for sharing.
I do feel like a mother chimp sometimes, how appropriate 🙂 And what a sweet time nursing is, amazing to think how they will grow from those little babies to become boys and girls and then…men and women?? Hard to imagine!