I’m in the process of hiring a Child Development Specialist for our family, also known as a nanny. This process is tedious to say the least. I am blessed to be able to work from home and simultaneously care for our daughter. However, as a third trimester pregnant woman, parenting a toddler has its challenges. So to mitigate many risks while we wait for our search to bear good fruit, I have discovered the power of the playpen.
The playpen, a three-by-five enclosed netted space designed to protect the infant from the home and the home from the infant. As a new mom who overcame multiple traumatic experiences to deliver and bring home a healthy happy baby, read The Mom In Me, I committed to practicing “attached parenting” and had no desire to even unpack the pack and play. Our daughter Genesis spent the first three months of her life super glued to my arms.
Research proves that human touch, affection, and one-on-one engagements with our children are the most powerful tools of development during the pre pre-K stage, and I agreed. Then one day, the reality of me being seven months pregnant crossed paths with our walking, talking, curious 20 pound baby girl ripping and crawling through our house like the Tasmanian on super protein breast milk. She has discovered the power of her two hands and 10 fingers, and nothing is safe in our house. When left to her own agenda, books are thrown off the shelves, DVDs tossed across the rooms, baby wipes ripped out of the holder, and toys, toys, toys EVERYWHERE!
Being an attached mom, I am all for exploration and discovery, but with 20 extra pounds of my own and elbows repositioning my ribs daily, I am in no condition to play pick up sticks every hour on the hour in addition to my demands as an entrepreneur and a homemaker. So what do I do?
Well, I did nothing. I continued to exhaust myself daily until I ended up having a meltdown forcing my poor husband to take off from work to assist me with recuperating. We were no more than three hours in on the first day, when I walked by our media room to find my husband lounging on the floor and my daughter nestled in her playpen with her toys. Astonished and still skittish from the demolition of my superwoman psychosis, I yelled, “Why is she in there?” To which my husband responded, “She likes it, I am tired, and she is too active for her own good. She needs limits. I am not dealing with that.”
It took my husband three hours, to come to a conclusion I ignored for months. And it also revealed the bigger lesson behind my entire “superwoman, do-it-all” ordeal. We all have limits and living is a process. Yes, my daughter may be curious, very mobile, and ready to explore, but she does not know her left from her right and edible food from dirty lent. She needs limits.
I may be a mother with child, a businesswoman, a wife, a friend, an entrepreneur etc. etc. but I cannot do it all at the same time. I need limits too. We all need limits. The power of the playpen is a metaphor for focused activity and progressive growth.
Rome was not built in a day. Thank God for my husband identifying my insanity and taking action before it caused serious harm to myself and/or our unborn child. And thank God for the playpen.
I am still an attached mom. Genesis spends no more than two hours in the playpen a day, but that coupled with naptime gives me the support I need while we continue our nanny search. She is very happy playing with her toys in a focused environment, I am less exhausted, and our home is much safer now that we all have assessed our limits and activated the power of the playpen.
In what ways have you learned to get more focused activity and time with your little one?