Ikenna is learning to hold his head up. The other day his head slammed into my lip while I was holding him because the weight was too much for him and he miscalculated a movement. It hurt. My lip was throbbing for a while afterward, although he seemed totally serene (LOL).
He was just practicing a new skill, and in the practicing he couldn't control the unintended outcome of hurting me.
Lessons and Reflections:
1. I'm able to watch him learn something that is hard for him and easy for me, and I'm holding it with love and laughter. There are other places in my life where I watch someone learning something I already know how to do and I think, "You don't know how to do that already? You should." I'm thinking about times when someone is learning how to be more emotionally intelligent, how to communicate more effectively, how to resolve conflict. I can be pretty righteous about things I think someone should know how to do. How can I extend love and laughter vs righteousness when someone who isn't an infant is learning a new skill?
2. It's important that while I hold Ikenna with love and laughter as he's learning I also set boundaries so that he can't hurt himself or others in the process. I hold Ikenna in my arms differently now to protect our heads, and there's no punishment or shaming in my changed boundaries. It's truly coming from a place of loving protection for us both, while still giving him freedom to explore. With others, I have had the tendency to either have love/laughter in their process OR set boundaries. I'm realizing I've used my feelings of love as an excuse to not set boundaries, because I'm so used to setting boundaries punitively. I've also set hard boundaries that give folks no further room to interact with me if I experience any kind of discomfort in our journey. How I can create boundaries with love? How can I create flexible boundaries that keep us safe while still allowing us to practice new skills?
3. Sometimes pain isn't personal, it just happens. When people's learning journey or lack of skill involves pain, I can choose to just let it go without attaching blame and responsibility. They're just learning to hold their head up, and it those muscles require some practice