Off and on for the past few weeks I have been working with Afton on learning to drink from a sippy cup. I recently read that spill proof cups are hard for novice drinkers to get liquid from and can therefore frustrate and dishearten them. That sounded like a terrible outcome! What was I to do? The article recommended removing the the part of the cup that makes it spill proof. I obediently complied and these were the results:
The top picture really doesn't capture what was going on there. Juice was spewing from the cup as rapidly as water spews from a watering pot. Afton was having the time of her life soaking her face and her hair and the carpet. It was really sweet and funny. You would also think it might have been a learning moment for me. Not really. The next picture was taken about a week later, the next time I tried. I gave her the same "spill all you want" cup with the same instructions, "Drink like a big girl!" As you can see, much to Afton's delight, the same results followed.
I am pretty skeptical by nature and I don't believe everything I read. Except when it comes to the advice of experts.....particularly Christian experts. I start out with the assumption that they must know more than I do about the ins and outs of any situation I have yet to encounter. It took me two instances of my daughter emptying a four ounce cup of juice onto herself and everything around her in less than a minute before I came to terms with the fact the though it may be true that spill proof cups don't work for lots of babies, the "spill all you want" cups definitely weren't working for my baby. Too bad I didn't realize this before I threw the spill proof pieces of all my new cups into the garbage.
I think this tendency in me to cling to the recommendations and opinions of experts with almost the same fervor that I cling to gospel comes from a desire that there be one right and perfect way to mother. Give me some rules and steps to follow and a guarantee that if I do then my kids will have a good mommy, that they will be good kids who grow into even better adults. I know it doesn't work that way. It just takes lots of little reminders like this one to really drive it home.
It is tempting to think it would be nice if it did work that way. It would take a lot of the hassle out of life. The problem is that it would take a lot of the beauty out of life as well. If all babies were the same would they be so, so special to us? If a list of rules could teach me how to mother would I be as acutely aware of my need of the merciful and gracious aid of God. I know I would not.