When you are child-free, its easy to pass judgement on other parents. I remember looking at a kid’s behavior and thinking that my child would NEVER get away with so much, Of course, I would have close to flawless discipline and my child would be punished swiftly and consistently. Now that I have a toddler, it is much more complicated than that and I try and judge other parents as infrequently as possible.
Another layer of know-it-all-ness is when you read book about child-rearing or sleep training or whatever, and decide you know how babies work. Then you have a baby. And BAM!! Humbled once again. When Vi was born, she was a terrible napper for about a year. Regardless of whatever methods we used (and I resorted to all methods), the problem corrected itself around her first birthday. But we were pros at nighttime sleep training and we preached the Ferber method whenever we could, praising Vi’s nighttime sleep which was decent.
And then Malcolm was born. He screamed for two months straight, got better, then decided to have a major sleep regression for the past month or so. He has been going to bed awake most nights and putting himself to sleep with minimal crying for awhile which I thought was a good omen. But he is back to continual waking throughout the night and will not go back to sleep without nursing. So we thought, “hey! its time to bring out the big guns!” We thought we would try and space out the feedings over a period of time. Minimum four hours between feedings, no exceptions. After two straight hours of Malcolm crying at 2am, I don’t know who was in worse shape–him or me (or Eric). Well, humbled once again. But this nursing 3-4 times per night is not sustainable and needless to say, we are a little frustrated. And I don’t think I have the courage to listen to more than an hour of crying, maximum. I’m not sure what makes him more pissed off–trying to comfort him or leaving him to cry alone.
And another thing. I’m so OVER the whole baby thing. Not just the experience, but TALKING and ANALYZING and just plain GUESSING WHY? WHY? WHHYYYYYY?? Teeth? Growth spurt? Hunger? And secretly: “Do I just suck as a parent?” It seems silly when I type it out, but isn’t that really why it feels like your heart is being ripped out when your child won’t stop crying? Or won’t sleep? Or breaking out in an angry red rash all over their face that the doc can’t make sense of (that’s this week’s debacle)? Joe Schmo’s kid can sleep, then why can’t mine? Even typing things like “sleep regression” makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little because I’m just over it. Because I know in my heart that there isn’t a “right” way to parent. Kids just aren’t textbooks. They’re people. And people suck sometimes. Ha ha.
I have nothing to offer besides this vent of mine, but its real and its all I’ve got right now. Ok, there are a few major things I can hang my hat on: I have two (more or less) healthy, beautiful children. I have an amazing husband. And I’m thankful for things like vasectomies. Thank you modern health innovations. And Happy Thanksgiving!