I had to get that title out of the way. But for real, life does kind of feel like that sometimes now. Parenting is confusing because I don’t want to be child-centered and raise my kid to think the world revolves around him, but my day does kind of revolve around taking care of my baby. The difference as I understand it is between my world being consumed by him, and devoting much of my time to nurturing him. My life hasn’t stopped, but it certainly has changed. The big goals and values are the same but my daily routine is pretty different.
The next episode in Simon’s sleep saga: As soon as Simon starting sleeping at night (see previous post) he stopped napping well. His naps got shorter and shorter and he usually woke up cranky. Again, I felt like I tried everything short of nursing or sleep props to help him fall back asleep but nothing worked. We were both tired and it made it hard for me to make plans with people ‘cause I couldn’t predict when he would be sleeping or awake. Once he started sleeping through the night or at least waking up only once, I felt like I could handle living in 45 minute increments. Ferber says it’s only a sleep problem if it’s a problem.
Then he started waking up more at night, like he was a newborn again. And napping worse, not eating well, and getting crabbier. That’s when I decided it was a problem. I borrowed The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems (horrible title, I know), and I still have problems but a couple weeks on her plan and Simon was sleeping much better during the day and at night.
While implementing her plan I realized I kind of approach Simon like a math problem sometimes. Like if I just read the textbook and study enough and do all the right steps then I’ll figure out the perfect solution of how to help him. This was a valuable realization because while I know Simon’s a person and we have a relationship, I sometimes act like I can program him to always do everything the baby books say they should do. I seriously get more stressed that he’s not sleeping exactly how some book says he should, than that I’m losing sleep or “free time” or whatever.
But Simon’s not a math problem or a machine. And I’m so glad he’s not. An old friend of mine had her first baby, a son, two weeks ago, and he’s still in the hospitable for heart problems. He’s already had two heart surgeries and he’s still got a long recovery ahead of him. I can’t imagine being in her shoes; it would be so hard and so scary…And another friend had a stillborn baby, and there are so many other sad stories I really can’t dwell on too much. But whenever Simon wakes up halfway through his nap or in the middle of night, or is crabby or not acting like a textbook perfect baby, I try to remind myself of what a blessing he is, and how grateful I am that he’s here and healthy.
And in the midst of the little daily ups and downs, I like to stop and think about the wonder of it all: how so much love and broccoli materialized into a beautifully and wonderfully made human being. And how I love him more than I could ever describe.
And I also try to remember that if I love him well, he will not become my world. I need to keep serving other people so he can grow up and learn to serve other people. So our little game of Simon Says must have its limits, but I’m still trying to figure out what those are. And he can’t even talk yet.