sleeping, eating, and other motherly woes

Of one thing I’m certain:  each day that I’m given is more proof of how little I know.

We’ve all been there, a time in our life when we thought we knew it all.  When we stuck our chest out and announced, if only to ourselves, “I got this.”

For me that was 7 months and 3 weeks ago.

 

Before her.

But now those days are over.  Although I’ve always felt like I relied on God, I can tell you that this day, today, without a doubt, I desperately need His grace, His direction, His wisdom, combined with His mercy and goodness and provision, tossed in with a good handful of His forgiveness and a shake or two of second chances.

Raising a child is hard. And I have a good one.  She’s not difficult, really.  Perhaps a touch stubborn and spirited.  She doesn’t sleep like other mother’s claim their babies sleep.  And she doesn’t eat like she’s supposed to.  She’s adventurous and bold, she’s determined and serious.   Sometimes she’s playful and occasionally you could even say she’s sweet.  Each day I ask God to help me and to forgive me.

If she has trouble sleeping, it’s because of me not her.  I have 0%consistency in my day.   Schedules are for trains.

If she has trouble eating, I’ll take the blame on that too, although she’s the one with her lips clamped together.

I’ve scoured the internet for help on every parenting subject that one could encounter with an almost 8 month old. (because the internet doesn’t lie)

*Breastfeeding
*co-sleeping
*baby wearing
*sign language
*pacifiers
*teething
*crawling
*separation anxiety
*night weaning
*sleep training

Plus lots more.
Through my hours upon hours of research, I’ve discovered there’s basically two camps of parenting.

1) “the force your baby to do what you want” camp

2) the “forget about your life, it’s officially over, make concessions for your baby’s needs” camp

I’m no longer looking for advice, I’ve received enough.  So really, you don’t need to give me any, but I will allow you to commiserate with me all you want!

I’m just writing to air my frustrations, state my opinions, and talk out loud.

Case in point.  Sleep trainers suggest that I put her in her crib for naps and at bedtime when she’s drowsy but still awake.  Not to rock her or nurse her, or give her any sleep crutches what so ever.  After placing her in the crib drowsy, but awake, she is supposed to put herself to sleep.  All on her own.  This has actually happened a time or two when she was smaller.  I can actually testify that when she’s in her appropriate window of sleepiness, as long as she’s not teething or gassy, when her diaper is dry, and her room is the correct temperature, as long as her nose isn’t stuffy or her socks aren’t too tight, and as long as the moon is in the second house, she will actually go to sleep.

But most of the time, when I put her in her crib, I get this.

Now, how can I tell her no and lay her back down, when for the last two weeks, I’ve been clapping and cheering every time she pulled herself up to standing?

Then she looks at me with this face of “aren’t you proud of me for pulling myself up, that’s a new trick you know mom.  When I’ve done it before you’ve danced a jig”, and yes baby I am so proud of you, and then she gives me the “aren’t you going to pick me up and hug me.  I’m whimpering over here?”

I’m at a crossroads.  If I pick her up, then she won’t understand she’s supposed to lay down.  And if I tell her,”no, lay down”, she won’t understand how proud I am of her for working so hard to stand up.  During this sort of dilemma, my maternal instinct usually wins.  The one that says love and comfort, hush her cries, make her feel safe and loved.  I know I’m reinforcing undesirable habits, but I can only pray that I’m building trust and reassuring her that she needn’t worry about her needs being met.

After giving this parenting gig a go for the last 8 months, I’ve come to some conclusions.

Of the little I know, this is what I know:

  •  All babies are unique.
  • I must figure what works best for my family.
  • If the situation isn’t a problem to the family, then the family shouldn’t let society (or the internet) convince them it’s a problem.
  • There’s really no right way to do this.
  • Most other mothers must be liars, wanting others to believe they have dream babies, or it’s been so long ago, they’ve forgotten.
  • I don’t have the answers and can only do my best.
  • I’m going to mess up everyday and I can only hope she doesn’t turn out to be Jeffrey Dahmerish.  Or worse.

 

God bless all mothers, everywhere!