A few weeks into my psychotherapy my therapist said something that was a real turning point for me (not to mention solid proof that not all therapists are flaky and / or useless as I had previously believed). Here were her magic words:
“As a parent your job is to keep your child as fed, warm, and safe as possible and to love them to the best of your ability. It is not your job to make them happy.”
This hit me like a thunderbolt, especially when I realized it’s larger implications – not only could I not be responsible for Camille’s happiness, but I also couldn’t be responsible for the happiness of everyone else around me either, as I had previously believed. This lifted a massive weight off my shoulders and marked the beginning of my road to rejoining the land of the living.
After having at last gained some perspective on the Camille issue, I began to understand that my little girl had not in fact been swapped at birth by maleficent fairies, but that she was simply a very determined, independent little soul who was seriously pissed off about being a baby.
Camille wanted to be big – she wanted to walk and talk and eat all by herself and as she had inherited her mother’s patience (or rather, the lack thereof) she wasn’t content sitting in her jiggly chair watching the rest of us doing these things. She wanted to join in, and RIGHT NOW! Screeching was the only way she had of expressing how cheesed off she was at the whole state of affairs.
And magically, when she started talking at around two the hollering stopped. She became what she is now, one of the most self-contained, capable, not to mention happy little people in the world.