Saturday, 8 April 2006

why don't they have classes on parenting?

I was reading Wordgirl's post on her handbag and it struck me how different being a mom of one is than a mom of two. (She's a mom of three, bless her, she just started me thinking.)

Things are different.
Yes, there's another person in the house and the dynamic has changed and it's weird and wonderful and crazy most days, but what I want to address is the changes in me, in my parenting.
Things are different.

When C was a baby, I obsessed night and day about what he ate, how much he ate, how many dirty diapers he had. If he slept too long, I worried we were over-stimulating him. If he cried too long, I was waiting at the pediatrician's office, armed with Dr. Google's latest words of wisdom regarding colic. My husband slept for the first four months with a pillow over his head, trying to drown out the wind-tunnel effect of the baby monitor on high. (Luke? I am your father.)
I was unceasingly watchful, usually upset, and scared to death.

Everything was hard. The breastfeeding debacle. Putting him to bed. (How on earth was I supposed to leave my baby in a room by himself and not rock him to sleep?) Teaching my husband everything he needed to know, because he wasn't doing it my way (read: the right way, according to me) and worrying that we were going to permanently screw up his teeth because we let him have a pacifier.

Separation anxiety. Starting solid food. Picking out the stroller. It was all trial by fire, and the flames were hot.

This time, things seemed easier. We had most of the equipment we would need (carseat, crib and bedding) and knew exactly what we wanted to toss or buy others of. (Toss: Diaper Genie. Big bulky diaper changing table. Wet wipe warmer. Cumbersome stroller. The Little Einstein videos. [Why would I encourage my child to watch tv? Isn't there enough time for that?]
Buy: Umbrella stroller [the 15.00 ones you can buy at the mall. They fit in the car trunk even unfolded, which is great when you have a baby in arms.] Pack and Play. Expensive monitor.

Best of all, we knew. We knew the baby was going to get colds. That one-time blowout diapers didn't mean something dreadful. That putting the baby to bed in her crib was okay - she wasn't going to be scarred for life and have abandonment issues. That the solid-food/bottle-to-sippy-cup/pacifier/is the baby hitting her milestones whirl-a-round we'd been on with the first was slowing to a stop.

We had gained confidence. We had, as well as we could with a newborn and a three year old, gained sanity. I remember smiling blithely at Bear one day as he burped and changed Posey, enjoying the two of them, not frantically making sure he held her head the right way and how many ounces had she had?

Being a mom of two doesn't mean I'm all-knowing. No zen master here.
I just really wish someone had told me, while I was living those horrible, self doubting times of immersing myself into thoughts of what a bad mom I was if I______, that babies don't care if they are fed with the breast or a bottle, or have a pacifier or a thumb - they just want to be loved.

And new moms? Should trust themselves much more than they're allowed to.

Now why don't they have classes on that?


Crazy MomCat said...

I can't tell you how many times I've reflected on my second child and thought this same thing. I wish I'd have been more laid back with my son. Instead, I think he's going to be a "stress type person" like his mom, thanks to all my worrying over this and that. My daughter is a roll with the punches kind of girl already and I am sure it is because we're more relaxed with her.

Ah, well, I guess it takes living through it once to learn what is really worth stressing over!

Joke said...

When we had Numbah One Son, we worried about EVERYTHING.

Numbah Two Son?

We would have let him juggle razors in his crib.


bean and sprout's rep. said...

jess, thanks! i feel better! being on the brink of sprout's arrival, this makes everything fall a little more into perspective. maybe i can survive this mom-of-two thing without having an anxiety attack...

Susan said...

We had friends in grad school who told us that they woke up one day and realized that they hadn't killed their first child, so it must be time to have a second. And we laughed and laughed--until we had our OWN first child, and worried every single moment that somehow our inexperience and idiocy might inadvertently kill him.

He's nearly six and not dead yet, so we seem to be doing a good job. But you're right--someone should TELL parents this.

I love this post.

--erica said...

imagine after four.. but then things would still happen that would throw me..and I'd think-- I should have this down by NOW?? lol