mollyreinvented (mollyreinvented) wrote in senza_radici,

Strength from the milk of human kindness.
A safe place for all the pieces that scatter.
Try to pretend it's more than love that matters.
 Indigo Girls -- Love will come to you

I put my daughter down for her nap and she is sick. She went into a rage and started trying to hit me and bite me. I left her in there and she was asleep after a few minutes. The thing about discipline is that it isn't natural. We are training our children to tolerate being alone. When I was pregnant I read a lot of books about cultural anthropology and how we, as Americans, raise our children. The whole Western idea of a crib would seem cruel in many other cultures. The idea that you put a child in there and leave them...

But think about it. In the cultures that don't routinely cage their children what else is in place. Usually a strong extended family or "community" family network. There is always someone else around. And here I am alone. Contemplating what it will be like to be alone with my child for three months while my husband pursues a career in federal law enforcement. I am more alone than most I guess. My daughter has a great godmother and godfather, but no other extended family that is anywhere near by. Most of my family could care less about how we are doing. Of course close family ties have both positive and negative aspects, but when it comes to raising young children there are times that I dream of my mother living with me or living nearby. I dream of being in a house with other people who have arms to hug and lips to kiss and hands to guide. Instead I have to train my daughter to deal with me and often I am not enough. When her little arms lash out in anger when I have to tweek her nose to get her to stop biting my arm I am painfully reminded that I am not enough.

Of course in this society we value independence. Children should sleep by themselves and for the most part blend into the background. Meredith Small the author of Babies which is a crosscultural study of raising young children talks about the pros and cons of this style of childrearing. Some deep part of myself wonders if this is why we are so lonely. Why many of us turn to the internet to develop a sense of community. Underneath all of my own mother-anxieties and guilt...underneath all of my own layers of want for myself and my child...down in there is a part of me that is yearning for human connection. Before I had a child I did not notice this empty part of myself. Now that I know it is there, I recognize it in myself and in our society at large. How do we fill this emptiness? With fundamentalist ideas about God? With fatty foods? With alcohol and drugs? With sex? With relationship addictions?  With large amounts of dietary supplements? When are we going to realize that there isn't more than love that matters?
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