Saturday, January 22, 2011

I've been selfish

I am so not a "go with the flow" kind of person, but I wish I could be. So for four months, I've been trying to go with Miss M's flow. Or so I tell myself. Really, on Saturday mornings, I've let her sleep in because I want to sleep in, too. And the past few weekends, we've dragged her to the mall and other places because I wanted to. Not because she needed to. So it's no wonder she stopped eating and sleeping when I wanted (and sometimes needed) her to.

It's possible that the so-called four-month sleep regression and a persistent cold (from which we are both suffering) have also played a role. But today, I am stepping up and accepting responsibility because I'm the mother, and I realize I've recently only been considerate of my child's needs when it was convenient for me.

Yes, I know children are flexible, and I should not feel guilty for the weekend trips to spend time with family. I should not feel guilty for needing to get out of the house. I should not feel guilty for wanting her to fit into my life, as much as I have to fit into hers. And I don't (feel guilty, that is). But I can't not acknowledge how my actions influence in my baby's behavior.

So last night, I set an alarm. Even though it was a Friday night. Even though it was late when I finally got her to go to sleep. I set it, and I woke up early. Then I woke Miss M, and I fed her and changed her and played with her. And the rest of today, I'm doing everything I can to adhere to the same routine she follows on weekdays. That means putting her down to nap in bed, and waking her to eat at regular times. And giving her bottles and pumping, instead of breastfeeding.

Starting today, I will not care if people think I'm a rigid first-time mom or a slave to my daughter's schedule. I'm convinced she is more like me than her dad in this area -- more comfortable with predictability -- and effective today, we will have that.

So it is written. So it will be done.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow

It's been an unusually white winter here. I actually welcome the snow -- it brightens the landscape.

Miss M is thriving. At her 4-month appointment, she weighed 14 lbs, 5 oz, and measured 25" long. The pediatrician said she's around the 75th percentile for both.

I wish I could say I'm thriving, too. But I'm filled with such a strange mix of feelings. When I look at my baby girl, I am overcome with love. People tell me I'm happier since I've had her -- and it might be true. I feel content.

But just as I am overwhelmed with joy, I can be quickly overwhelmed with anger and frustration. Unfortunately, my dear husband takes the brunt of my irritability. I know I blow some things out of proportion. But other times I feel my frustrations are justified.

I don't believe this is postpartum depression. It's not every day I am walking around like a ticking bomb. On good days, I feel "on." But on bad days, I am definitely off. I'm tired. I'm unsociable. I feel like I'm walking numbly through a snowstorm -- head down, in poor visibility, with Miss M insulating me from the white blur of life whipping around us.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

To Santa, or not to Santa

I was 6 when I learned the truth, (no) thanks to an older and wiser 7-year-old in my Sunday school class. "Devastated" does not even begin to describe the depths of my despair and disappointment. I remember sitting on my mother's lap crying through a circular discussion that must have lasted an hour. At the crux of this conversation was my inability to comprehend why my parents lied to me.

Now, as a parent, I feel a duty to Santa responsibly, if at all. The idea of no Santa seems kind of Scrooge-like. I don't want my kid to be that know-it-all 7-year-old shattering the dreams of an innocent 6-year-old. And, 30 years from now, I don't want Miss M to look back and feel like she missed out on an important part of childhood.

But I also don't want my daughter to feel as betrayed as I did that sad Sunday morning.

So where's the middle ground? In my best-laid plans, we would somehow follow Miss M's lead while being careful not to fuel the fantasy. Will Santa come to our house? Probably. But our Christmas won't be one that depends on him ... if I can help it.