Saturday, May 19, 2012

Everything I swore I'd never do

It's so easy when you aren't a parent to say, "well, of course I'll never do that." Even when pregnant, I read the parenting books and thought of course I won't rock my baby to sleep because she'll become dependent on that, of course I won't let her play with a plastic sack because she could suffocate, of course I will take the pacifier away no later than 8 months, before she can resist very strongly. How very little I knew ...

Before my OB released us from the hospital, she looked us in the eyes and said, "Remember, you guys are in survival mode. Whatever you have to do to get through the day is OK." I'm pretty sure she just meant this in reference to our first few weeks as parents, but it has become my mantra for all time.

When I'm rocking/nursing/singing my baby to sleep instead of letting her soothe herself to sleep, I'm feeling incredibly guilty that I'm doing exactly what the "experts" say not to do. Especially because I was so sure I would listen to those experts. I do like to follow the rules. When Jordan or I have made our 12th trip into her room in the middle of the night because she's crying, I'm pretty sure we must be crazy. But here's the thing. I think back to a really difficult day when Addie was about 5 or 6 months old, when we thought the colic was gone for good and then it came back with a vengeance. I was letting her "soothe" herself to sleep, which meant she was screaming bloody murder, when it hit me. I am her mom. Those "experts" in those parenting books aren't here. I am. When you live with a baby who has colic, who cries and cries and cries for hours and there's literally nothing you can do about it, it changes anything you ever thought about the way you would parent. I made a resolution to myself, for myself, that when and if I can soothe her, I'll do it. There have been so many times that she's crying and I can't fix it, so if I can fix it, through rocking or singing or nursing or snuggling, that's exactly what I'm going to do. No matter what those parenting experts say I'm supposed to do.

Several of my friends have confessed to me that they rocked (or still rock) their babies to sleep, not because their babies need it, but because they need it. And isn't that the truth. Some day Addie's going to be 14, and I'm pretty sure not only will she no longer fit on my lap, she'll die of embarrasment if I try to rock her to sleep. Looking into my baby's sweet, vulnerable face as she is about to fall asleep is my very favorite part of the day, and not just because it's the only time of day she will actually hold still.

It makes me feel a little better to know that Addie is perfectly capable of soothing herself to sleep, and oftentimes she does just that. She is back to (usually) sleeping through the night, after battling months of teething, ear infections, etc. that took us back to square one after having a baby who had slept through the night for months before. And (warning: boob joke ahead) if she does wake in the night, and giving her a boob means I can get back to sleep in 15 minutes as opposed to her crying for another hour, take a quick guess what I'm going to choose.

As for that pacifier ... I heard a news story recently about the importance of weaning babies from the bottle at age 1 and from a pacifier at 6 months. My immediate reaction was, "did whoever make these rules actually have children?" Sure, I agree in theory that that makes sense. But , some of the time, theory and reality couldn't be further from each other. If giving your baby a bottle or pacifier past that cut-off age gives you a little sanity or sleep (extremely precious commodities in my book), I get it. (PS don't judge me if my kid still has her paci at age 10).

And about that pastic bag ... I was trying to clean our closet today, while also entertaining the baby, and after she tried to lick her 12th shoe, she grabbed a GAP bag and had the very best time with it. For like 5 whole minutes. It was beautiful. And I was monitoring very closely to ensure she didn't put it over her head and suffocate.

So the moral of the story is: don't judge my parenting skills and I won't judge yours. We're all just trying to survive.

Addison Mae - 9 months

I am so lucky to be this girl's momma. Even though every moment isn't perfect and I have plenty of moments of frustration, anxiety and insanity as a mom, I feel so blessed that God chose Jordan and me to be her parents. Addie's curiosity and need to be BUSY continue to amaze us, and wear us out. Her sense of humor, orneryness and playful spirit are becoming more evident each day. That girl's belly laugh is the best sound in all the world, and I make a fool out of myself multiple times a day just for the chance to hear it. She loves to eat, which she comes by naturally, loves to be the center of attention, ditto, and loves tormenting her animals ... probably also a ditto. She's on her way to six whole teeth, with two more not far behind. Did I mention she can get wherever she wants to go? Her method of army crawling, rolling, scooting and pulling up means whatever that girl wants, she gets. Her new love of remote controls, phones and computers must mean her parents are playing with those toys far too much. Addie had tear duct surgery in late April, which was fairly easy and took less than 10 minutes. Watching her come off the anesthesia was really rough for Jordan and me, but it was very short-lived. Two weeks after she had the tube put in, it had to come back out because she had pulled it out some (imagine that). Thankfully, that happens in many cases and doesn't mean it has to be put back in - her doctor is confident it's already done the job. A week before the surgery, this tearful momma got to go to Mexico with my super amazing husband for his reward for being a top 10 salesman in his company, for the second year in a row. It was so hard to leave our baby, and we missed her like crazy, but we enjoyed sleeping late, eating and drinking, and just lying on the beach. We were anxious to get home to our girl and so glad she remembered us!!

Weight: 17 lbs, 9 oz
Length: 27.5 inches

New things this month:
  • We have a crawler. Her method is more of an army crawl, but she sure is fast.
  • Pulling up. On everything.
  • Saying Izzy, which she says in reference to Izzy herself, the cat and any other four-legged friend. Don't ask Jordan how he feels about her saying ma-ma and Izzy before da-da ...
  • Eating almost all finger foods. Baby food is, clearly, for babies.
  • Swimming! Baby girl went swimming in her Grammie and Pawpaw's pool for the first time and she was wild about it. The diaper was the only downside since it meant her little bottom kept rising to the surface ... and I'm so glad I now know just how much liquid a diaper can hold.
  • Moving up to her big-girl car seat.
  • Laughing when we tickle her. Which we do a lot just to hear that sweet sound.
  • Oh, Izzy and Mia. The best dog and cat around. I've been trying to teach Addie to pat them gently instead of pulling their fur out, biting their ears and pounding on their backs, but she doesn't seem to be getting the message. I've also tried to teach them to run away when Addie comes crawling, but they seem to like her attention.
  • Eating. Favorite foods are avocado, cantaloupe and chicken. She also loves asparagus, black beans, garbanzo beans, pumpkin, apples, pears, green beans ... well, pretty much whatever we feed her.
  • Initiating games of peekaboo.
  • Washing her hands in the sink. It's the little things.
  • Being outside. She squeals when we take Izzy out in the back yard. And squeals even louder when we throw Izzy the ball or she runs all around the yard. Addie will try to wrench herself out of our arms just to see where her puppy is.
  • Riding in her new red wagon. I thought she wouldn't care anything about it, but Jordan insisted we get it and she thinks it's the best thing that ever happened to her.
  • She loves to look around to see if we're watching before she crawls or pulls up - have I mentioned she likes to be the center of attention?
  • Magazines. She loves to go get the mail with me every day, and now she has figured out that's where the magazines come from. She can rip and chew up a magazine in the blink of an eye.
  • Sophie the giraffe. A gift from her Great Aunt Granny and Uncle Pawpaw. Rubbery, made for teething babies and with a squeaker. Think: dog toy. Poor Izzy does not understand why the baby has a toy that looks, sounds and smells like a dog toy, but she has been very good not to take it away. We take Sophie everywhere.
  • Dancing/bouncing/jumping to music. So, so cute.

  • Not getting her way. Where did that come from?
  • Being constrained  in any way, shape or form.
  • Riding in the backseat alone.