Motherhood: What We Know, What We Don’t, What We Stumble Upon

21 Jan

I keep flogging this proverbial pony…but geez…I am well and truly…exhausted.  I know there are many of you people out there who are probably just as tired or even more so.  And I’m sure you have much more serious reasons – whether it be work, personal issues, the bad sushi roll you ate last night.  But hey, you can write about it on your own blog. (Sorry.  That was crabby, sleep-deprived Mama Grace talking).

As the famous saying goes; “Before it gets better, it gets worse”.  And for several weeks (since Christmas to be precise) it has somehow managed to get worse.  Uncontrollably so.

It had reached its brink early last Saturday morning.  Waking up (yet again) to his almighty shrieking at 3:00 am,  I spent the following 2 hours trying to settle Little K.  By the third hour, Hubby and I played tag team.  Not to say that one got to get any rest while the other tried to settle the screaming banshee precious cherub.  No way.  We just had to give each other a mental break.

So, it was during this brief moment of solitude in the sun room, looking out at the sun rise, watching the red open top jeep outside delivering the morning paper (when else would I even bother to know this trivial piece of information ?), I was at the end of my tether.  For some unknown reason,  I happened to reach out to the bookshelf and picked up Tizzie Hall’s “Save Our Sleep.”  It magically opened to the page: “How to settle a standing 12 month old”

Up until that point, I had barely opened a page of this borrowed book about sleeping techniques for babies.  Nor had I bothered with the other famous authoritative baby-rearing guide, Gina Ford’s “The New Contented Little Baby Book”.  Despite being on loan, both books had just been sitting on the shelf.  They had been untouched for a reason.

Considered as highly experienced midwives and  baby sleeping experts, Tizzie and Gina are well-renowned in the world of parenting for their stringent, “stick to every minute of my military schedule and you will miraculously have an angelic, sleeping baby” approach.

These books had achieved respect and high regard from many parents.  But I had been dubious.  I had firmly decided that I was not going to buy into any of it.  This opinion had been reaffirmed right before giving birth.  It all came about from one flippant comment that a midwife had made during a pre-natal class.

“Don’t bother with those Tizzie Hall or Gina Ford books.  They are completely unrealistic,” she instructed.

I took her word as gold.  Why ?  Because I was 30 weeks pregnant and feeling very vulnerable.  It was the dead of summer.  I was sweltering in that tiny classroom with the broken air-conditioner.  I needed answers.  This midwife gave me one.

So, back to that sleepless Saturday morning.  I read the section that I landed on and surprisingly, it made sense.  I read about the “Lay Down Approach” and basically it teaches the unsettled baby who keeps standing up in his cot and screaming at the top of his lungs – how to get back to sleep.

A simple solution.  No doubt, a time consuming one.  Patience and persistence was essential to achieve success (Ha !  Where doesn’t that apply to parenthood ?).  The whole idea is to help the baby associate the cot as his place to retire in the evenings and nap times.  We’re up to Day 5 and by golly !  It’s working !  Little K slept right through to 5 this morning.  Woohoo !

Anyway, let me get to the moral of this story.

When it comes to parenting – everyone seems to be a big bloody, know-it-all expert.  And as for opinions ?  Geez, who doesn’t have one ?  All of a sudden, a 20 second encounter with random strangers at the coffee shop, at the hairdresser’s, at the mother’s group, at the shopping mall, in the park…still accounts for relentless, unsolicited judgement.

“Uh, thanks for giving me your opinion as to why you don’t think my babies are identical twins but believe me, they are and…where do I know you from again ???”

To further confuse us new parents, there is already an abundance of child-rearing advice and material out there.  I mean, STACKS.  In addition to ALL of this, there are the wide, varied and strong opinions that coincide with the plethora of head-spinning information.

But this is what I do know.  When my head is about to explode from the sleep deprivation, the loss of direction and the overflow of parenting “intelligence” – I’m going to trust my own instincts.  Motherhood is going to be the one time when my intuitive skills are honed and sharpened to its absolute finest and best.

I am not going to let outside influences – no matter how experienced they claim to be – undermine my better judgement in what’s not only good for my children but also for me.

I haven’t pointed out anything revolutionary or news-breaking.  It’s all just common sense.  But in the whirlwind of trying to do the best job I can in the most toughest role I’ve been in – I need a reminder once in a while.

That’s it.  My two cents worth.  Hopefully (cross fingers) tonight good ol’ Tizzie’s method is our saving grace (Haha, no pun intended).

Sleep Little K, sleeeeeep !

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