Monthly Archives: October 2014

Everything They Say is Wrong

I was going through the drafts folder of my gmail account (what, don’t you keep half a dozen drafts around and then periodically go through and delete them?), and found a little gem dated October 9, 2012. V was 16 days old, and two years later, I still agree with every word of what I wrote. I’m not sure why I never posted it. Self-consciousness? Feeling it wasn’t “finished”? No idea. But with two years of perspective on it now, I feel like it’s time to just press “publish” already and be done with it.

* * *

Everything They say about babies is wrong. Everything They say about pregnancy is wrong, too.

I’m not sure why it took me the entire nine (ten, actually. See?) months of pregnancy plus the first 16 days of my daughter’s life to figure this out, considering I learned the exact same lesson two years ago with the corollary: Everything They say about weddings is wrong. Now, I don’t mean that every single piece of advice about weddings, pregnancy, and babies is absolute garbage and should be ignored. There are some real gems of advice floating around out there. But the majority of the things you hear over and over and over are just… well, saying they’re flat out wrong is just as inaccurate as what They tell you anyways.

Take the sleep thing, for example. “You will Never Sleep Again”, “Get ready for interrupted nights!” First of all, as any pregnant woman can tell you, she hasn’t been sleeping through the night for months. When my daughter was one week old (you know, last week), she started giving us four hour naps at night. FOUR WHOLE HOURS IN A ROW. I actually woke up from that before she did because my poor bladder hadn’t gone that long without a break since April.

But the story, “You will never sleep again”, reminds me of our wedding and all the people who said “Oh, you won’t get to eat a thing all evening.” My husband and I spent a lot of time with our caterer and were really excited about the meal, so we made it a point to get food at our wedding. And we did. Not only did I have a full plate of dinner brought to me from the buffet, at dessert, I got to go through the line myself. Why? Because we made it a priority. And right now, I feel pretty well rested with a 16 day old baby. Why? Because I make it a point every day to get a daytime nap in addition to our nighttime ones. Did I get 8 hours uninterrupted sleep? Of course not. I haven’t had that since February, and that’s okay. But I’m not dying of sleep deprivation, like They all swore I would.

I’d also like to point out that They said I wouldn’t get any time for myself early on. “You won’t even be able to go to the bathroom alone!” But here I am, able to sit down and type despite the fact that my hungry little girl wants to feed for an hour at a time every two hours because my husband and I are doing this as a team and he currently is sitting on the floor next to the bed with a thumb in her mouth so my poor breasts can take a break. (Thanks, hon!)

There’s something really important one of our midwives said to me at our last prenatal appointment (at 39 weeks, the day before my water broke, when she told me most first time moms don’t deliver until week 41, so don’t get your hopes up! Even fabulous midwives can sometimes be the infamous They.) She told me that while they are experts on pregnancy, no one would know more about my pregnancy and my labor than I would. I think that applies to a lot of things in life — pregnancy, babies, and weddings, as well as the little things. No one knows more about your life than you do. And this tiny little creature we’re just getting to know? Nobody else has spent 16 full days and nights tending her needs, which means nobody knows her as well as we do.

Our pediatrician reminded us at our one week visit that there is no right or wrong way, there’s just what works for you.

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My child has opinions and it’s awesome

So, we’ve officially entered the “no” phase. Only, thing is, instead of the “NONONONOOOOOOOO” that I was warned (oh so ominously) about, we get these adorable little “Nope”s.

And she’s opinionated and has Feelings and Thoughts and Ideas. “I’m so mad! Grrrrr!” “I’m fus-tated! Grrrr!” “I’m happy. Are you pretty happy, Mommy?”

Of course I’m happy. She’s developing into her own person, which is sort of, you know, the whole goal of raising a child.

I’m not sure where this idea comes from, that a toddler is an obnoxious creature to be Handled, Distracted, or Avoided as much as possible. I was reading something recently about dining out with your toddler when it hit me how unusual our experience seems to be. When we decide we want to go out for food, we pick a restaurant that we like and we go. And we have never had a problem with our toddler being unable to function or turning the evening into a total nightmare. She either eats or she doesn’t. She sits at the table until her toddler patience has run out, and then someone gets up and runs around outside with her for a bit, and then they come back and eat some more. We don’t try to pick a restaurant based on how many televisions under the theory that more tvs = more distraction = better (which, honest, I’ve heard given as advice). If anything, we try to avoid restaurants with televisions because she eats better without them.