I went to a parenting workshop last year and one of my friends recounted how her mother used to say over and over.."What are we going to do with you?". This statement confused my friend. It frustrated her. It hurt her. "What are we going to do with you, Rebecca?". This memory of her frustrated mother, this tired person, was at a loss for what to "do" with this child. My friend decided that her mother needed to do nothing with her. She just wanted to be. Just be.
Well, I went home and thought about this awhile, because, well, I say "What am I going to do with You?" to my youngest quite often. She is a free spirit. She is adventurous. She is willful. "What am I going to do with you, Zuva?". I didn't want my little one to grow up with my friends' memories of her mother, the exasperation, the feeling of being a burden. I thought about the answer long and hard. I think I came up with a solution.
We now have a routine.
I say, "What am I going to do with you?!?".
And my daughter stops and smiles. She's memorized the answer.
"Love me," she says, "Just love me!".
And I do.