Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Parenting 101- As if I know anything?

Well friends let me start by telling you I'm sitting on the lap top in the living room in the pitch black (except the stove light on) with Haidan babe in the snugli (baby carrier) AND swing, sleeping peacefully.

This is my parenting post. By my own experience, so I'd like to quote my La Leche League meeting leaders by saying "take what you want from what other people are saying, if you don't agree or think something is wrong in the, that is totally fine, leave it at the door" (or in this case, close the window). 

Parenting is by far, bar-none, winning the gold medal at being the hardest, most challenging, testing, amazing, beautiful, fun thing I have EVER done in my entire life. Having had gone to school for Early Childhood Education and working in the daycare field for more than 3 years prior to having Haidan, there are many many things I said I would never do that I am currently doing (and loving). Before I explain, let me start by giving my number one parenting tip.... Ready? Here it is...

Read all the books you want during pregnancy, I'm talkin those little cute magazines, the parenting Canada magazines, "What to expect when you're expecting", the whole she-bang... Once you've read them (and tired to get your partner to read them, or even tid-bits of them) GET RID OF THEM! Donate those bitches, pass them on to your friends, put them in a box in the basement/storage unit whatever... just get them the eff out of your face because as soon as that baby is born you'll feel like your brain has gone to mush and you won't want to have to look up in some stupid book "BAH what do I do when..." If you've read the books you want from cover to cover (and been able to retain some of the very boring information) you should have ingrained in your brain the important stuff that you want/need to remember. EVEN having read about a million pages of Early Childhood books in school I still sometimes feel like I don't have a clue at what I'm doing. It's OK! I have remembered the things I wanted to remember, and use what I wanted to use from each book. Some books I read I thought to myself  "Wow I'm going to totally do this, I love this way of parenting, yeah lets have no plastic toys, oh man I'm totally going to pump every day and have a million bags of breast milk stored so that I can work out whenever I need to, ohh yeaaah I'm going to breastfeed on demand, E.A.S.Y yes that's the routine I'll follow from day one."    Crock. Of. Shit my friends. Read, and decide on the type of parent you envision yourself becoming (and talk this over with your partner) and forget the rest. Because quite frankly there is a damn book for EVERYTHING. Now I don't know about y'all but I  can be easily influenced by what other people say, ie books... so the book that I read that said to follow the "E.A.S.Y" routine (Eat, activity, sleep, you (mommy) time) I had decided that was what I was totally 100% going to do. I still to this day am trying to get Haidan consistantly on that routine but sometimes the kid just wants to nurse to sleep and that is damn fine by me... one day I'll get it, and so will he.
Any ways, on to the things I never thought I would do...

1. Give my baby a soother. I always said -I mean always since I was old enough to understand that I never got a soother and that no kid should ever have a "plug" in their mouth- that I would never give my poor little baby a soother. Why would you need to give them a soother? They only cry to tell you they need something? Don't you knoooow that if you give your baby a soother they will never talk to you? Don't you know that they need to learn to use their voice?
You know what, when you've had your teet sucked on for two hours and nothing else will sooth him... guess what he gets. A SOOTHER! The day I decided that W might be right on this one, I grabbed the first soother in our stack of supplies, stuck the thing in his mouth, and away we went. I believe my first words were "Haidan I don't like you with this soother, but I still love you". He doesn't take it that much any more, I think because his bottle (given when I am away working out etc.) and my nipple are shaped nothing like the soother, so for now that's fine. Eventually we might need to find something, but mark my words he will not be one of those kids that is 2+ years old with a soother... (I hope)

2. Co-sleep with my infant. HOW on earth could you sleep with your child and put their poor little life in your sleep-less hands?! How could you take the chance of rolling over your baby and loosing the little life you created? Why not just develop a routine from the start to help you all? 

Low and behold here we are, a big ol family in the same queen size bed (trust me, I'm pushing for a king). I blame it on the hospital, I was roomed with a woman who had a c-section and needed to call the nurse every time her baby screamed (if you've read my birth story I believe that I've mentioned this... the baby cried what seemed like every damn hour while my lovely little Haidan slept like a champ). I was worried Haidan would wake up that often too, so I brought him into bed with me and nursed him when I needed to and slept with him on a pillow beside me when I was pretending to sleep. 
From that day on I have had Haidan sleeping next to me or on top of me. For the first little while I spent some nights on the couch with a camp set up, foot stool near my head so that if Haidan rolled he wouldn't be on the floor, just the right pillows, blanket, water, phone, burp cloth etc. I tried a few nights to wake up, feed, then put Haidan in his crib directly next to our bed (even at the same level) but with his little noises and movements I was just a wreck and wasn't actually sleeping. So now we sleep with the crib beside us and a blanket over the railing, Haidan, me, then W. I get such great sleeps that sometimes I even have vivid dreams, I sleep on my side and feed/nurse most of the time but sometimes I wake on my back (which means I am having a great sleep!), and Haidan gets sweaty some nights because we're so cosy together.
I know that co-sleeping is very controversial because some people are like I was before having kids, and I 100% understand where they are coming from and some times I do fear that something bad will happen. I believe in myself and my sense of self/Haidan babe and his needs, and I believe that if I can get a great sleep and feel rested and energetic and function the next day, that is BY FAR the most important thing. I dread the day W suggests we move Haidan into his crib, or for some other reason we decide to start the transition... but I know it will come before I want it. I would love to have a king sized bed on the floor that we sleep in until Haidan decides he's had enough, but I don't think that's realistic for now.

3. Diapers. I had a brief time that I really wanted to use cloth diapers and be a super green mom... but decided that even thought it would be great (and I might still try it out some day) I'd still be using lots of water to wash those damn diapers, and I have enough laundry to do with all of the clothes W puts out in a day. I really do commend the parents that go cloth, but for me right now... Nah.

One last side note of parenting. Being a parent is nuts... especially a mother. I can remember in the last months of pregnancy thinking that W was like a god. I was so impressed and smitten with him I thought I was going crazy. (Note: I still think he's absolutely amazing but I'm talkin weird shit here...) I would just hold his soft-skinned-arm and smell his sweet man-skin and think I was in heaven. It's weird right?
In the hospital I remember being a little bit sad as I stared at W in the waiting room before the labour room. I was sad that it would never again be "just the two of us" and worried that our relationship would change for the worse. We've been together three years now and that's not very long for new parents. Times get really stressful and sometimes I do feel a bit crazy, but luckily he is one VERY amazing man. 
After Haidan was born and parenting became real life, I can remember thinking W was so amazing and fabulous and... I don't even have words for how surprised and smitten I was with him taking on this new parent role. He didn't read a damn book but is still so helpful, if he has a question he figures it out. In the two weeks that he spent at home with Haidan and I he really stepped up as a parent and partner, he brought me breakfast in bed, lunch in my feeding chair, and dinner wherever I ended up at that time. He brought home flowers and plants and walked the dog (if he didn't the darn thing would surely be dead by now with this heat), he did the laundry, cleaned, did dishes, cared for me and every night reminded me that I'm doing a great job and being a great mommy. Sometimes he was so great and just reminded me of why I feel in love with him in the first place that I would actually cry, cry tears of "oh-my-goodness-I'm-the-luckiest-girl-in-the-world" tears.
He's back at work now so things are different, even though I sometimes find myself amazed at how silly he's being and I have to remind him that Haidan is only just now 3 months old (he won't be walking or throwin balls and day soon), I still am so incredibly greatful to have him as my partner in crime. Hormones are a bitch and I can be a big one, I know that, and I admit when I am wrong... God bless his soul for putting up with my madness and loving me so much through thick and thin.

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