Motherhood as a Humbling Experience

My daughter looks nothing like me. Cleaning up projectile poop of an individual who while being very cute, small and female strangely resembles your own husband is not a very flattering experience. And yet I persevere.

All of a sudden there is a whole range of issues about which I have no opinion.  For instance, do I change her diaper now, or do I wait and let her poop her heart out?  How do I get her to feed on a schedule?  Why is her top-rated baby carrier so hard to use?  Are we bonding or what?

Actually judging by how selflessly I get up in early am scrab off her butt, I must have bonded all right. She on the other hand, is she bonding with me? Sure she likes to fall asleep curiously close to my tit. But what is she furring her brow like that for? And why is she so happy to see the dad when he comes home from work if I spent my whole day tending to her every emerging need? To tell you the truth I’m relived to see her expressed so much interest in dad. I can relax at last.

Not only I have little or no opinion about what to do with my precious one, everyone else does! What’s frustrating is that they all seem to say something different. My doula warned me about it. Like she said, it all started in the recovery room in the hospital where every RN had her own uniquely crafted suggestion. At the time I followed the ones I liked. For instance, I told one RN that the baby cried more on the second day then the first night. “Oh, so she already switched day and night”, — she replied. Yeh right! Nevertheless from then on I followed every advice she gave.

Sometimes contradictory advices come from the same person or the same book. Better yet, from a single page of a critically acclaimed book. Marc Weissbluth’s Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child is a case in point. First he brings up all the research that shows that the amount of sleep children get does not vary crossculturally. Then he gives suggestions how to influence sleep. But if there are no crosscultural variations then sleeping habits are not learned, and why am I reading his book?

In other words, I’m confused. If I am to trust the books I read, confused parent is a bad parent because a good parent doesn’t vacillate. Perhaps I need to stop reading.

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June 22, 2007. Breedosaurus, Random thoughts.

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