Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Glider Swing is a Better Mother Than Me

Keep I've been a parent all of 3 weeks. That's 21 days... 168 hours... 10,080 minutes of my maternal life. And there's one thing I've learned: my plans get to suck a monkeys big toe. 

I've told mike numerous times that my birthing experience was God telling me to stop being so stinking controlling. I like to have every detail of everything meticulously planned out because I hate surprises. Well, let me tell you this: parenting has been one big surprise. 

Just because I hate surprises doesn't mean all of them have been bad when it comes to bringing my little love into the world. For example, It was a surprise how much I instantly fell in love with him. It's been a surprise how easy going and relaxed he is. It was a surprise that I wasn't leaking blood and guts the last three weeks like everyone made healing sound. It was a surprise that my baby tummy has gone down decently fast. It was a surprise that my milk came in so soon after he was born...and so on and so forth. There have been so many beautiful Surprises. 

But, every rose has its thorn. A lot of the surprises I've faced in parenting have gone completely against what I imagined my parental life being like; the biggest of which has been Breast feeding. 

I come from a family of milk cows. Milk production has never been an issue for the women in my family. My mom nursed me until I was 18 months and always had ample supply. My sister nursed her babies no problem. So I figured I had this nursing thing in the bag. However, I hemorrhaged during the most critical time of a babies nursing life. I was busy getting multiple IV's, a catheter, blood transfusions, suppositories, and my uterus pumped while my baby should have been skin on skin with me and learning to suck. However, since he had issues of his own, he had to have formula right away in order to pass his next glucose test or it would have been off to the NICU. Formula was so far from my addenda it's almost comical that he ended up having to supplement with it for  a week and a half. 

But I kept my baby out of the NICU by choosing to give up that ideal....so it worked. 

The next challenge came when I finally was able to try to Breast feed...four days later. The little chunk got so used to the fast flow of the bottle (despite the fact that I tried to get the most natural tipped bottle I could afford) he wasn't feeling patient having to work to get the flow going on my slowly lactating Breast. We had a few good runs but a few mid-night break downs on both our ends had us pumping and eating from a bottle half the time and using formula the other half. 

But I kept my infant fed by giving up that ideal...so it worked. 

Last but not least, I had the ideal that I would spend long, sleepless nights rocking my baby to sleep in the glider I refinished in his clean and sparkling nursery I had decorated to the nines and we'd bond like nobody's business. But, his glider swing is a better mommy than me. 

Most nights he has no problem getting to sleep. He eats, stares at the ceiling for a while, sucks the life out of the binky, and is out. But on occasion, he wants nothing to do with shuteye. These were the nights I imagined myself in solitude with no one but me and my baby rocking away while I got him to sleep. I was looking forward to no sleep because it meant alone time with my babe. But, the babe doesn't care for alone time with the mama. 

The first night he had his "I will not sleep no  matter what you try" episodes, it even woke Mike up---nothing wakes mike up. From 1 AM to 5:30 AM we struggled to get him to sleep let alone relaxed. I walked upstairs, downstairs, fed him, changed him, swaddled him, massaged his belly, rubbed lavender on his toes, shhh-ed him, sang to him...no. dice. Finally around 5:15 I had to go to the bathroom so I set him in his rocker swing and then...silence. Mike and I looked at each Other  and all mike could muster was "really?" He was sound asleep. 

I have a daycare mentality where you don't leave kids in swings, gliders, bouncers, high chairs, etc any longer than 30 minutes no matter how happy the kid is. But Remington slept soundly in that swing (being checked on every 30 minutes by me or mike) for 6 straight hours. 

Letting go of the perfect midnight snuggles/swings and gliders are satan ideal gave my infant and myself a good nights sleep...so it worked. 

I've learned more than I thought I would having a baby. I've worked with kids so much I thought I had a lot figured out...but I quite literally knew nothing and had too many ideal images in my head. Now, we go with the flow and let life happen. I've learned to be okay with the fact that the glider swing gets the midnight cuddles while I steal them during the day. We're doing better nursing now, so that is good but it was hit and miss and that's okay. I've realized there is no perfect way to raise a child. You don't plan to hemorrhage and have that throw things off...and you don't plan to come in second to a glider swing...and you're probably only second because you're the food source. But life happens. I have a very healthy, happy, thriving 3 week old who hasn't lived the life I imagined him living. But the fact that he is thriving is enough and means that every goal I've ever set in parenting is being reached. There is no perfect way to parent, If there were, the parent manual would actually exist. ;) 

So, new and old mommies alike, don't get down on yourself if your parenting doesn't go as planned. You're doing great raising that little thing. Formula or Breast, swing or mamas cuddles, If your child is happy and healthy, you have nothing to fear; you're a success!! 

Relaxed. :) 

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