toggle navigation

The Push-Pull

August 13, 2013


Margaret is nine-months now and there are many days I cannot believe it myself. This little puffy-faced newborn (and let’s call it like it is in the beginning) lump of sleepiness is now a giggly, content, adventuresome, fearless little girl. There’s rarely a day that goes by that I don’t thank my lucky stars for the joy she brings to our life.

As best as I can tell at this stage, Margaret is essentially calm until she isn’t. Her personality can be best characterized by the definition of a spitfire.


And now, our little spitfire is doing this thing that I have to write about. I call it the push-pull. Apologies to all the men out there reading, I’m going to talk about nursing now, so maybe my brother needs to skip to the next paragraph, or something. But, this push-pull, when I’m nursing, she grabs my hand to pull it close, holds it for a beat, then, as quick as she held it, she’ll promptly push it away. She repeats it several times and the whole thing leaves me wondering if this a metaphor for the parent-child relationship? Them (the child) wanting us (the parent) close, but wait, not that close.

Psychologist Arthur Kovacs, PhD believes that, “Every human has three critical needs — solitude, human warmth and companionship, and the need to feel productive, that one is making use of one’s talents.” As much as I thought Dr. Kovacs’ notion pertained to me, the mother perfecting the gentle balance of me-time, family time, career-time, I realize, it is true for Margaret (and perhaps all babies) as well. She needs me not to hover (as much as it pains me) as she tries to figure out working a spoon loaded with butter grits all on her own. She needs me to step away as she explores every square inch of our house without my help.


She needs me to provide a safe, loving, and kind place to grow and become whoever or whatever she wants (with proper guidance). She needs me to let her continue to test the boundaries of our relationship, the push-pull, and for me to let her become the spitfire that will likely do something absolutely amazing, one day. Let her pull me close then push me away. Let me push her away, wanting my own space as well, then pull her close, relishing these fleeting moments as we all gain our own independence.