Honoring their instincts

By Gretchen

“Mom?’ my child said in a small voice, ‘I don’t think you should eat the pie.”

I was caught by surprise and asked why. My husband had bought the pie only minutes earlier, indulging one of my late-pregnancy cravings for something untimely and ridiculous. I was looking forward to strip-mining my key lime pie while lying in bed.

Tears began to flow. My child continued in a bashful whisper, clearly made uncomfortable by such an odd certainty. This child had never, ever, approached me with anything remotely like this.

“I just have a very strong feeling you shouldn’t eat it.” The tiny voice shook.

“Okay…” I answered, trying to understand, trying to formulate the wisest response.

I believe in gut feelings. I believe in the still small voice. I believe in instinct. I am also one of those people who sometimes likes to rationalize those mysterious promptings away in the name of common sense. Just as I was about to tell my child that it would be okay, I caught myself. It was less about self-preservation against a bad, potentially evil pie and more about demonstrating that it is important to listen to instincts.

Often, our first clue we are in a dangerous situation or hanging around the wrong people is a gut feeling of uneasiness.

If I brushed off my child’s surety there was something wrong with the pie, I’d send the message I don’t care for their opinion, that strong feelings are wrong, and that maybe next time they should not bother telling me if they have a mysterious but deeply held concern about something, anything.

I want my children to trust their instincts when they sense peril, small, large, or custard-based.

“I won’t eat the pie,” I assured my visibly relieved child. I asked if anyone else could have the pie. Nope, nobody, but I was the #1 target of concern because I have a baby brother riding around inside me.

We threw the pie away. I’ll never know how it would have turned out if I ate the pie like a rational mom—if there is such a thing as a very pregnant mom rationally eating a big fat meringue-laden pie.

My instincts tell me I did the right thing.

10 Responses to Honoring their instincts
  1. Adventures In Babywearing
    August 8, 2010 | 12:41 pm

    You so did the right thing! Although, key lime?! I would have been tempted to eat it without them ever knowing…

    Also, we have an ice cream parlor near by with key lime pie ice cream and it is divine!


  2. Jen
    August 8, 2010 | 3:01 pm

    That just about made me cry! Good job of listening to your child’s instincts. It’s difficult to throw away pie, especially since you don’t know why, but it’s worth it! That teaches her a great lesson and I’m so proud of you.

  3. michael rosenbaum
    August 9, 2010 | 2:31 am

    It’s absolutely not about the pie, of course. Excellent choice.

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  5. amy
    August 9, 2010 | 10:56 pm

    Your craving (instinct) v. your child’s sixth sense about the craved pie (instinct). Maybe the pie would not have made you sick, but it was knowing you would not feel better laying in bed eating pie.

  6. Amy
    August 10, 2010 | 3:00 pm

    I’m sure it was hard to throw away that pie, but you did the right thing. It is so important to teach our kids to trust their instincts. You are a good mom.

  7. Beck
    August 12, 2010 | 9:14 am

    Key lime pie is probably my favorite pie, so I would have a hard time being as respectful of their wishes – but you probably missed out on a whopping case of salmonella.

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