Recently, one of my best buds and her adorable (almost) 2 year old visited us for a beach day. With my youngest now (almost) 5, I forgot how much more patience I needed when I was the mommy of littler ones. My friend’s daughter is well-behaved and sweet in every way, but there was one little glitch in our beach day together.
She didn’t like the sand.
Now, this may seem minor in the whole scheme of things, and it really is… but, imagine you took off work for the day, drove almost 3 hours in one direction, and got your little one all ready for her first beach day of the summer… only to find out that sand isn’t something on your little one’s list of “acceptable places to put my feet”.
We stayed a few hours at the beach that day anyway, and I got to see my friend at her very finest as a mommy. She was understanding, loving, and most of all, patient, with her little one. She was in tune with her daughter’s comfort level with this new experience, and she guided and encouraged her child in a gentle way.
Research on temperament tells us that one of the key factors in having a healthy, happy child is the “goodness of fit” between a child and his or her primary caregiver. Even a child with a difficult or slow-to-warm temperament can be well-adjusted if a loving adult understands, prevents, and responds accordingly to that child’s unique strengths and needs.
At the end of the day, my friend’s daughter still didn’t love the sand, but she did know her mommy was someone who accepted her for who she was – who didn’t get upset, but merely rolled with the punches, remained patient, and made the best of things: a “goodness of fit” mommy.