My friend Dorit said one day, way before I ever imagined I'd become a mom, that I should read The Drama of the Gifted Child.
With such a title I sure did, expecting to hear about what a wonderful, gifted person I was.
It's a short book I couldn't put down. I cried the entire time I read it. Why? Well, I won't give it away, but I'll say that because of that book, a seed was planted in my mind that if I ever became a mom, I would give my child unconditional love, at least for the first two years of her life.
So the plan was to give unconditional love, but how? Would I even be able to do it? I'm only human. What would "loving unconditionally" mean on a day-to-day basis? Would that actually be good for my child?
The first time we took Sophie to the pediatrician, he said, "Wow, you guys are really calm. Most new parents come freaking out." We were off to a good start.
Soon, as Sophie became more mobile, I found myself surrounded by warning notices like "Choking hazard" and "Risk of death if your child falls off this dresser/bassinet/swing/chair."
More and more I started to worry about her getting in trouble. I swore I wouldn't let her fall off the bed, even though everybody told me that it happens to everybody, but… yep, she fell off the bed. She had been rolling only a certain way and, in a matter of seconds, she figured out how to roll and then roll again in a different direction, and down she went, and I saw it happening through the mirror, unable to stop it.
She didn't even cry at first—the soft bassinet next to the bed, the carpet, and her own hands cushioned the fall. But she did cry a lot when I, for the first time in her short life, jerked her up and showed her my face of terror and asked her loudly, "Are you okay?" The unconditional love was gone; all I gave her at that moment when she needed me most was fear and negative energy and the message that I didn't trust her.
And that's when I went on a quest to find the ideal baby and toddler instruction manual. Ideal for us, of course.