inspired by this post over at one claire day, i thought i’d go over some of the expectations that may or may not have changed since ramona has been around. before we met her, before we knew what it was like to be parents, jp and i discussed how things were going to be done. and, if you know me personally, you know that i can be a black-and-white type thinker. yes to this, no to that. i don’t really consider, ahead of time, the gray area in between or the situations that might necessitate a little flexibility. marrying jp and being a mother to ramona has changed that a little bit.
ramona doesn’t give a crap what i want or expect or plan or schedule or manipulate. she lives to the beat of her own drum and hasn’t yet developed the faculties to understand reason or controlling one’s emotions. because of this i have had to learn to read her, to attend to her needs whole-heartedly. and also because of this, jp and i have had to find ways that make parenthood simpler, easier, and more beneficial for our sleep and well-being (and certainly for ramona’s). that being said, all of our grand plans for being the perfect parents didn’t exactly turn out the way we envisioned. let’s take a look:
1. I will not give my child a pacifier. When Ramona was six weeks old and her and I were spending some time in Minnesota with my family and I was, subsequently, leaving her for more time with someone else than I ever had before, my dear sister asked if I had ever used a pacifier with her. I hadn’t but thought, what the heck? I was ok with this decision since Ramona and I had a healthy breastfeeding relationship and I didn’t think it was going to interfere with that (many people advise to hold off on introducing bottles or pacifiers before the baby is 6 weeks old for this reason). Others were able to help soothe Ramona with the use of a pacifier and it certainly helped to take the edge off. As soon as she (finally!) fell asleep, she would pop it out of her mouth. However, she never quite got the hang of sucking on it on her own so someone always had to hold it in her mouth if it was going to be effective. A pacifier worked great with Ramona, but only for about three weeks. I will be there to help soothe her and teach her to settle herself with other comforting aids. Sometimes, when she is so tired during the day, I let Ramona cry for a little bit alone in her swing. I want to see if she will fall asleep. Since she has learned to suck her thumb (I think she is genetically predisposed to this as I was a thumb sucker) sometimes it only takes five minutes: her crying is more like a low whimper and the next thing I know she is asleep. Other times, though, I have put her in there and her crying escalates to screaming and I still wait to see what will happen. Poor girl. Often nothing does and so I take her out and wrap her up (and that works like a charm).
2. I will breastfeed no matter what. Ramona latched like a champ and, except for when my milk came in and we had to use a nipple shield for a little bit, has had no trouble nursing. At this point, it is safe to say I will breastfeed no matter what, though I completely understand that I had a relatively easy time and had a huge network of support and this is not the case for all women who want to try exclusively breastfeeding. However, full disclosure, Ramona was fed some formula a couple of times when we were in Minnesota. It was convenient for me when others were looking after her and I didn’t own a pump at the time (and there was something really freeing about leaving her with trusted others and I didn’t have to worry about how she would get calories). Though she is no worse for the wear the poor girl had a helluva time digesting that stuff and was quite unhappy every time she needed to poop. I will never do that to her again.
3. I will only use cloth diapers. I am seriously considering buying disposables to use at night so she would stop leaking! Also, I not-so-secretly love when we travel and I use disposables on her and I don’t have to worry about doing daily loads of poopy diapers. That being said, at home we do only use cloth diapers but, as I’ve said before, I cannot imagine having a job away from home and trying to keep up with clean cloth diapers.
4. I will not feed my baby to sleep and will follow the SLEEP FEED PLAY routine. While I never really thought of this until I read it elsewhere in the blogosphere and considered it there is no way now that I would stick to that. Nursing Ramona to sleep at night works WONDERS and I’m confident she won’t be doing that for the rest of her life living with us. My rule of thumb (for some things): do whatever works for the child and makes parenting as enjoyable as possible (anyone listen to the freakonomics podcast, which states that people with children are generally less happy than those without? why exacerbate the problem?)
5. I will not allow my child to be stimulated for long periods by a television. Ramona has watched some nursery rhyme clips on youtube and an episode or two of community. and sometimes the way she gets sucked into the movement on the computer screen is a big ol’ relief to us, esp when we want to quickly shovel some food in our mouths. that being said, we won’t be buying those “educational” videos geared at children 2 and under and we won’t be using her bumbo chair to place her in front of the tv while we do other stuff. but i’m not too worried about snippets of tv exposure.
6. I will start reading to her every night from birth. sounds like a marvelous and romantic idea but sometimes that girl just is begging and pleading for bed. this means putting on a clean diaper, slipping her into a cozy sleep sack and letting her nurse to her heart’s desire bc otherwise she is PISSED. i do try and read to her every day and, recently, she’s actually shown some interest in the images of the pages and the pages themselves (RRRRIP!) but reading before bedtime is gonna have to wait until she’s a little bit older and doesn’t crash so hard at night.
nicole.: i CANNOT wait. and i am very proud of you.
nicole.: i CANNOT wait. and i am very proud of you.