Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Advice From the Clueless Mom

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was not super excited about the idea of having children.  Friends and co-workers would talk to me about their kids, and I would immediately glaze over and start doing my grocery list in my head. Now I am a parent, and being a mom is the coolest thing ever. 

Of course I can say that now, 22 months after having my daughter.  At the beginning, not so much. 

I am an only child with limited exposure to children.  I never babysat.  I never worked in the church nursery.  Obviously I did not have siblings to corrupt.  And now here is this living, breathing, screaming, squirming creature who expects me to take care of her.  My husband was as clueless as I was, by the way.  The blind leading the blind.

I read all of the books, I received all of the online pregnancy and parenting newsletters.  I turned in my collection of smut novels and biographies of serial killers for copies of "What to Expect".  I talked to other parents.

And you know what?  NOTHING can prepare you for having a child.  Nothing. 

Example - I chose for personal reasons to bottle feed my daughter (BTW she is healthy and happy).  The books say that bottle fed babies sleep for 4 hours between feedings and breast fed babies for 2 hours.  Now that is more like it, I thought naively.  I can feed her once during the night, and my husband can do the same, and we will just go on our merry way getting 6 if hours of sleep easily.  Piece. Of. Cake.  Um, no.  Lucy woke up every two hours screaming for food.  No sooner was she tucked in, bottles washed, mom back in bed, and BOOM.  Hungry again.  The books also say that most babies  should eat "x ounces" of formula in order to properly grow.  That is CRAP too.  My child ate what she wanted and stopped when she had had enough, often taking much less than what she was 'supposed' to eat.  Babies are pretty good self regulators, I have to say.

My point is that there is no manual, guidebook, or advice for having a baby. You as parents have to find your own way, and let your child guide you. 

At Lucy's first birthday, I proudly declared that I was celebrating the fact that she was still alive after a year.  I was not kidding.  I can barely take care of myself most days. 

So if your child gets off  the feeding schedule or screams for no apparent reason, it will be okay.  I promise.  If I can do it, trust me, anyone can. 

I am still clueless, by the way.  But she's still alive and kicking at 22 months.

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