No means toddler

Last summer I had the privilege to attend the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute‘s Intensive seminar- three days of connecting with thoughtful, authentic women, several of whom I have admired for over a decade through their writing and other trainings.

Although I insist that I’m implacable every time Archie jumps out from behind the door, there are several situations that make me nervous. Long days of separating from a young toddler is one of them. Talking to my personal heroines is another. Mixing my professional life with my crazy parenting life is a third. Combine all of these and I say some bonehead things. Take the final day of the Institute for example.

One of the JBMTI directors started talking to me while I was reuniting with Matilda. I was so thrilled to speak with her that my brain left my body and I became one of those parents– the ones who say things like, “well I don’t know about tantrums, because we don’t have any because I breastfeed,” “my child won’t have any trouble ever because I cosleep,” or, “my child won’t play with superheros because we’re a nonviolent family.”

I’m not saying I’ve never been one of those parents– when Carter was a baby I distinctly recall thinking those 2-year-olds were monstrous creatures and wishing their parents would do something about their atrocious behavior. I haven’t been that parent for a long time though- until last summer.

Maureen commented that her grandchild’s favorite word was “no,” and wondered if it was also Matilda’s favorite word. My response?

“Why no, I don’t know why it would ever be her favorite word. I mean, she hardly ever hears it.”

I have one good friend who has pledged to kick me if I say anything that dumb again, but sadly, she was in another continent while I had this conversation. All I can do is offer up this 90 second montage.