What My Daughter Helped Me Remember- Guest Author Pamela Heiner

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I have always prided myself on being able to relate to
children. I was the youngest in my family, as was my husband, so we’ve had
years of experience being treated as children far past the age of eighteen; but
that also means we’ve had nephews and nieces around much longer than most to
provide us with some kid training.
With that background in mind, I felt that my own little one
wouldn’t have any surprises for me. However, not only has she surprised me on many
occasions, but she has also shown me that there were quite a few kid habits
that I’d forgotten over the years.
Thirsty? Grab a
Washcloth
My daughter was barely over three months old when she first
put the washcloth from her bathtub into her mouth. She sucked timidly at first,
but then when she realized that water sprang out from the fabric, she drained
the corner edge dry while I was preoccupied with scrubbing her feet. I was
about to pull it away when suddenly years of memories came back of doing the exact
same thing. The feel of the cloth on my gums and tongue followed by the
lukewarm water slipping into my belly was a sublime experience of euphoria. No
cup held the same amount of pleasure that came from that sopping wet rag, so what
was I to do? I turned the washcloth to a fresh corner and watched my daughter take
another drink of the ambrosia called bathwater.
When Adults Talk, the
World Shifts into Narnia Time
For those of you who may not be familiar with C.S. Lewis’
Narnia series, Narnia time is different from our time. To us a few minutes
pass, but in Narnia forty years have come and gone. This same phenomenon
happens as soon as two adults—particularly two adult women—start talking. A few
weeks ago, I was standing with my daughter on my hip, talking to a woman I knew
and having what I thought was a nice conversation. This came to abrupt stop
when my daughter suddenly reached out, pushed the woman’s shoulder, and started
repeating over and over, “Bye-bye”. I was a little stunned, and as we walked
away I was thinking of how I hadn’t been talking that long which is when it hit
me. I vividly recalled watching a bright sunny day through a church window
change to the dark of the evening during a “little chat” with someone my mother
knew. I promised I’d never do that when I grew up, but now here I was, feeling
like I hadn’t talked that long, but to my daughter we were stepping out from
decades in the wardrobe.
The Power of the
Popsicle
The time of day doesn’t matter and neither does the
temperature, because to my daughter popsicles are always a good idea. Frozen
treats hold some strange magic that forever entices children; it’s a spell I
knew too once, for I can recall doing literally anything someone would ask me
to get flavored ice—even if it was just a cup of juice with a spoon frozen
inside of it. Clean my room? Sure! Clean your
room? Of course. Get into the crawl space and clear out any spiders living
in there? Only if you have a popsi—okay! This seems to be the case too for my
girl because if she is daydreaming, sick, sad, or just wandering around, I can
mutter the word “popsicle” and she will be at my side with a smile on her face
before I finish the last syllable.
The Snow Effect
I believe snow shifted from the great miracle of fun to the groan-inducing
pain in the neck when I started driving. After I dared to venture out onto the
roads, snow was no longer my happy holiday friend but a dangerous force to
constantly outmaneuver. Our relationship hasn’t been the same since. But then I
heard my daughter shouting “No! No! No!” At first, I thought she was arguing
about something, but her body language told me differently. She was in her high
chair, twisted around more than I thought humanly possible, and frantically
pointing out our large sliding glass door in the kitchen. Fat, puffy snowflakes
came down like an apocalyptic onslaught from heaven. “Babes?” I called up to my
husband. “It’s snowing.” When she heard me say “snowing” her word changed from
“no” to “no-ing”. Ever since that day, if we aren’t discussing whether or not a
popsicle is in the near future, we are looking out all of our windows to see if
it’s “no-ing” anywhere. And if it is, then of course we MUST go outside so she
can face plant into the snow and graze at the top layer of fresh powder. Her
excitement has been so infectious that snow and I have started being happy to
see each other again.
Parents Cry at Weird
Things
My mom would get teary-eyed often when I was a kid. I’d say
something simple like “Thanks” or “Love you” which made her eyes would water,
and then I’d find a way to sneak out of the room. Not that I didn’t care about
seeing her cry, it’s just that I had no idea why she was crying and not knowing
made me uncomfortable. Fast forward twenty plus years and I think of her when I
blubber over my girl learning to clap, sit up, crawl, laugh, walk, and every
other textbook milestone. Although I do claim a slight difference from my
mother: I have always tried to hide it. That is, until the one night I
couldn’t. I was about to say my typical “I love you” before bed when my
daughter looked at me and said “Rie Ruh oo”. I stopped, gave her my full
attention, and she repeated “Rie Ruh oo”. “I love you?” I asked. She smiled.
“Rie Ruh oo,” she told me again. I had to wipe my eyes, which is when I saw her
raise her eyebrows at me. “Yep,” I said. “I’m your mom. I cry at weird things.”

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Pamela Heiner leads a double life. On the surface she’s your
typical run-of-the-mill wife and mother, but at night all fiction breaks loose.
She’s a writer who graduated from Utah Valley University with an emphasis in
creative writing. She’s written pieces for the Standard Examiner, the College
Times, and UVU’s Warp and Weave magazine.

 

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Showing 4 comments
  • Shelley

    Love it Pam! Every word is so true!

  • Hayley

    Motherhood isn't a glamorous profession, but man does it have it's perks! Thanks for reminding me Pam!

  • Quinn

    Couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks for writing such a great article about that beautiful daughter of ours! 🙂

  • krishikaseo1

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