My daughter has developed a game in which she flings her body back away from whomever is holding her, trusting that she will be continue to held when upside-down. She does this without warning and then repetitively. We hold her, and then flip her back up, she flips herself back down, and the process repeats until one of us gets tired. She trusts us to hold her up without fail. She trusts us to keep hold of her and support her and protect her from falling. Even when entirely off balance.
She trusts us.
We have earned her trust.
Since she was born, we have provided what she needs and responded to her as quickly as possible so that she could build her trust in us.
Children are fast learners. They know far more than we usually give them credit for. At only a year and a half old, my daughter can let us know what she does and doesn’t want for her body and for her comfort. She may not be able to use full sentences like we hope to teach her as she grows, but she can make her desires known, plainly and specifically. One of the ways that she continues to trust us is that we continue to respect her agency and keep her safe.
Sometimes she asks for things that are not good for her. She doesn’t get them. We don’t give into her every whim. Being consistent is harder than it seems from the outside. I know consistency will pay off in the long run, through the tantrums. It still makes it hard.
Being a good parent is critical to building trust. Sometimes my husband and I don’t get to do what we want to do because we need to be firm and consistent with our bourgeoning toddler.
I hope to look back on these years as a time of formation of a trust that is seated deep between us. Building trust now is laying a foundation for our mutual respect later. It is how we show love, beyond the kisses, hugs, and cuddles.
Our love is built on a foundation of trust that began with our love for our daughter. The two reinforce each other. Through a strong loving trust, we grow a strong trusting love where we fling ourselves into each others arms knowing that we will be supported and kept safe each and every time.