my daughter is a willful, and passionate spirit. she chose me, just as much as i chose her, but that is another story.
this weekend, my daughter slicked her face and coated her entire head in vaseline. twice.
after giving her a second bath, she covered the mirrors with vaseline. as i was about to yell and get angry, i looked into her eyes, twinkling even though her mouth was a hard, serious line.
she squished the vaseline in her fist.
i remembered then what it means to raise a child with non-feudal parenting. through all our conditioning, its all to easy to treat children as things that belong to us. that we can force, because we “own” them. How often do i hear “well, i turned out ok”?
the truth is that we are not ok, and as oppression, control and scare tactics are perpetuated in scale from families to the state, the battle is often waged within. it would be easier to argue with the lumpen masses who praise obedience as measures of worthiness of a child. its both painful and horrifying to hear the words from your own fatigue, a stress-induced shriek.
“No, because mommy says no.”
“you’re being bad.”
“stop or i’m going to palo you. 1. 2. 3…”
and yes, i’ve even found myself counting. and i never palo her really, so i don’t even understand why i say it. i was never raised with corporal punishment but i have to try hard to remember that screaming leaves scars harder to heal.
i looked into her questioning eyes and removed myself from dynamics of power and authority. the anger dissipated like sunlight cutting through the fog.
“Is squishing vaseline fun , baby?”
and a contagious grin spread across her face.
“Mommy. I love it.”
– Katrina Socco, AF3IRM National Programme Chair
(Reflections from 2010).