500: pacifiers and other whole matters

She reached over and picked it up in a manner that spoke to ritual, to surrender. It’s nap time; I should get my pacifier.

That’s what we call it. No abbreviations or nicknames. Pacifier. I’m determined to teach her whole things, real things. I don’t want her to be 7 thinking Adam and Eve ate an apple. She should know how to say her full name by the time she’s 2, no later. And when she’s a Freshman in college, I want her to be so aware that 15lbs is simply the dumbbell weight she uses for bicep curls, not the weight she’s afraid she’ll gain.

More than that, I want her to one day be my age and have the sort of relationship with Jesus that is joyful, contagious, growing, exciting, faith rich, grounded in humility and grace… And yes, by my age, her decisions will be all hers, but what I do now will inevitably impact who she is then. I want her to be whole and I can’t help but think that wholeness begins with smaller things…like names.

Saying “pacifier” is not going to make her love Jesus. Trust me, I know, but it’s an intentional move on my part to think about what I’m putting into my child’s head. It’s like her name. While I have a few nicknames for her, I’m determined not to shorten her actual name and not to let others shorten it, either. I thought about that as my husband and I read through name books and name websites. Which names are just bound to be cut? I can’t control it, however. One day, someone will (even without asking her, which is downright rude!) shorten her name and think nothing of it.

I’m aware of what I’m projecting onto my child. It’s an honest effort to protect her from the desire of others to make her what they want her to be. That’s what we do when we shorten names or create nicknames. And the more convenience-driven our culture, the more we do as we please.

Him: What did you say your name was, again?

Me: Michaela

Him: Oh, can I call you Kayla?

Me: (Stank faced) Nnno.

Him: (Surprised) Oh…Ok.

We say pacifier. We also talk about how hard she’ll work and that oh yes, trust me little girl, you will have a job while you’re in college. We don’t believe in folks having all the time in the world to focus on their studies–because we know that that doesn’t actually happen. We all need some level of structure, of time constraint. She’s only 7 months. You probably think we’re nuts.

Reminds me of when she was still inside. At some point along the prego journey, our OB said something about her being in the 70th percentile. I plainly stated you’ll have to explain what that means because all I know is that 70% is a C and that’s unacceptable. He shook his head and said something about feeling sorry for our child. It was quite funny. We really don’t mean to place ridiculous amounts of pressure upon our wee one. We’re just honest about what’s in our heads/hearts. Maybe it’s a first-time-parent thing. Maybe it’s a pendulum swing sort of thing. Save yourself the energy you’d like to expend telling me about my unrealistic ways. All you parent-pros, I get it–believe me. I just want my girl to be whole.

And if that means that things don’t go according to the plans that we, her parents, currently have in our brains then so be it. But one thing I’ve come to value is moving forward with what’s in my head. I’m grateful for the many times a group decision that wasn’t my first choice turns out to be the best decision. I have no faulty notions that my ideas are always best. But I’ve given in to we don’t have enough time and just let it be once too often. I’ve doubted processes that would have been tremendously helpful even if there wasn’t enough time to finesse them. I’ve allowed my perfectionism to freeze me.

Here’s to wholeness. Tomorrow’s a new day. Here’s to more of the good.

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