Tuesday, January 9, 2018

just wike me.

It's not atypical for Millie to be walking around with a baby doll or stuffed animal crammed underneath her shirt. This usually means she is pretending one of three things:

  • She is pregnant and there is a baby in her belly.
  • She is "wearing" her baby, like in a wrap or Ergo.
  • She is a kangaroo and the baby is in her pouch.
These are all frequent components of her imaginary play, and it's just as likely that she will want me to stuff a baby under MY shirt and assume the role of one of the above. 

So it wasn't out of the ordinary the other night when she came up to me as I was sitting on the floor. She had a doll in her hand, and she started lifting up my shirt, trying to shove the dolly under. I reached out and helped her, stuffing it under down low on my stomach, where a fetus might like to hang out late in a pregnancy.

"Is that right?" I asked.

"No, you need to put it up dere," she said, pointing up closer to my shoulder as she tried to pull up the baby underneath my shirt.

"Oh, okay," I said as I adjusted. "Am I wearing the baby so that I can go on a walk?"

She stopped and looked at me.

"No. Dis baby growing in your heart. Not in your tummy. She growing in your heart, mama! JUST WIKE ME!!!"

And now we have a fourth option, when we see Millie walking around with a doll in her shirt. Maybe there's a baby growing in her heart, the way she grew in ours.

I don't always feel like I'm hitting it out of the park as a parent. In addition to the 'usual' parenting things that all folks deal with and worry about, I also get to wonder whether I'm handling her identity as a child who was adopted properly. Am I saying the right things? Not saying the wrong things? Does she know how incredibly valued she is, how much her birth family loves her, how my heart absolutely overflows with love for her? Am I doing the things now, when she is tiny and easy to talk to and pour love into, that will sustain her and give her a positive sense of self when she is 13? 

I don't know, really.

But she is proud to walk around our house with a baby growing in her heart, so that gives me hope that maybe I'm not too far off track. Maybe she thinks that babies grown in hearts are just as wonderful as babies grown in tummies. I sure think so. Goodness gracious, I love this girl.