Pre-Baby Promises

#1 thing I always said pre-baby went something like “my baby will sleep in the crib from night one, we will not co-sleep, co-sleeping is dangerous.” Now, 16 months post-baby, I have about 3 square inches of bed to claim as mine, because I have a little monster kicking and scooting me out of the bed each and every night. My husband says she has to be kicked out soon though, and each time he brings up the topic I find myself begging him no… After all, he’s not the head-over-the-edge, permanent crick-in-the-necked, scrunched in the fetal position, sleep-deprived parent. That would be me, and you don’t hear me complaining… much.

#2 declaration made pre-baby was “my baby will eat only organic, gluten-free meals that mainly consist of vegetables.” 16 months post-baby, I’m serving anything that will get her to take more than 3 bites and not be done. Goldfish for supper? …. Again? ….. Why not? An entire bag of yogurt melts?… Sure! Vanilla wafers? …. Okay!

#3 pre-baby proclamation was something like “my baby will be potty trained by one.” Yeah-freaking-right, pre-baby me, yeah-freaking-right.

Please tell me I’m not the only mother who has broken her own rules.

Co-Sleepers Anonymous

Co-Sleepers Anonymous

Hi. My name is Mommy, and I am a co-sleeper. I know, I know. My baby is 16 months-old and I haven’t broken her from my bed yet. Or maybe I haven’t broken myself from her, my personal teddy bear. (If our pediatrician is reading this, please don’t be mad at me. I just couldn’t. I did try… She’s just not ready… Okay, okay. Maybe I’m not ready… Either way, sorry, sorry, sorry!)

I know the dangers. I swore to myself co-sleeping was something I would not do. But when she was born, she was so tiny and fragile. I was paranoid of SIDS, and the easiest way to ensure she was still breathing was to have her next to me to monitor throughout the night. Needless to say, as a co-sleeping mother, I haven’t had a good night’s rest in nearly two years; however, at least I have a peace of mind that my baby is okay.

I know some think that since I haven’t gotten her out of my bed yet it will be harder later. Well, let it be harder! If she wants to sleep with me until she’s 16, I’ll let her… Because we all know that won’t be likely. I’m sure at some point, she’ll go through the stage where she doesn’t want much to do with her parents. So while she’s little now, let her be little… and let me snuggle her… and take advantage of these sweet moments that sometimes drive me crazy (literally) but won’t last forever.

Plus, she’s just so darn sweet. The way she reaches out for me when she stirs to make sure it’s okay to be asleep. I’m her security, and I am kind of proud of that. See, she needs me. And, man, it is great to feel needed. Because she won’t always need me, ya know… And, honestly, I dread the day she decides she’s too big for goodnight cuddles… the day she decides she’s too big for me.

So she is somewhat attached, she’s our first child… why shouldn’t she be? And maybe I’m overly attached, but she’s our first child… why shouldn’t I be?

On the other hand, being her co-sleeping mother has taught me a lot about parenthood and one thing I am definitely not going to do with my next child is… co-sleep! I got you next time, Doc!

But then, I’ve said that before…

Motherhood Lessons

The past 16 months have been full of fears, failures, hopes, laughs, and lots of love—so much love. I fell madly and deeply, head over heels in love for the very first time (it’s a different kind of love than the love you have for your spouse, because I am madly and deeply in love with my husband too; it’s just different).
As she is growing and constantly learning, I feel like I am learning more too, whether from the countless hours spent researching everything baby or her teaching me new things about life and love.
For one, I learned how often to expect a poop and of what color and of what consistency and how to know when something is wrong based on all of the above. This also helped me to control my natural gag reflex to smells (some poop smells, not all. Unfortunately, this skill hasn’t helped with my gag instinct to the you-haven’t-brushed-you-teeth-today smell). But I am proud to say I can now change her poopiest, smelliest diaper without a second thought or blink of an eye. Just call me a professional! (Insert applause).
I also learned patience while waiting for my twenty-plus-pounder to roll and crawl when most of the other babies her age found these skills earlier (hey, she had more to roll than the average baby).
I sure learned more about the female anatomy than I ever thought possible as I nursed and pumped my life away. The terms engorgement, plugged duct, and mastitis are not to be taken lightly! After enduring all of the above, I feel like I could be a certified breastfeeding doctor too. Somehow, I survived and thrived with everything still attached. (Insert standing ovation).
I learned to be even more paranoid. And I experienced a whole new level of fear as she started getting bronchitis and drowning in snot and using a baby inhaler and then pulling up and falling and cruising and falling and bumping her head and falling and taking steps and falling and bumping her head and running and falling some more, etc., etc., etc. (Did I mention falling??)
I learned there are many different types of cries: the hurt cry, the help cry, the needy cry, the hungry cry, the whiny cry, the you-can’t-get/reach/do-something-by-yourself cry, the you-want-and-can’t-have-something cry, and the good ol’ fake cry. Who knew one tiny human could make so many different sounds?
She also taught me to make the most of my time. You see, I’m a working mom, so I live for the weekends and days off with my daughter. We make the most of every, single minute. We play. Boy, do we play! And imagine. And dance. And act silly. And laugh. And cuddle. And nap. Oh, the sacred naps. And snack what seems like all day. And learn. And play some more. These are the best days of my life…
Greatest of all, I’ve learned more about the Father’s love for us, His own children. Becoming a mom opened my eyes to this. Oh, how much we are loved and adored by Him. If the way I love my daughter is just a fraction of the way He loves us, then I CANNOT EVEN FATHOM IT. I just know I am definitely not deserving of this type of unconditional and unfailing love that He freely gives, yet He loves me anyways. Truly, what an honor.
I know there is a ton I’m leaving out. Just like I know there is a ton more I will continue to learn from this tiny human. What lessons have you learned from parenthood?