Oh, Dear Pony,
I am so sorry for the last two nights. I used to envy the firstborn, as I am a middle child, and being one has always given me so much fuel for my self-indulgent pity parties. However, I now see your situation in a whole new light.
You are, unfortunately, one giant experiment for us as new parents.
We should try this? No, wait, what about this? This could work. Oh shit, that was bad. Let’s not do THAT ever again. How about this? Oops. Not good. Try something else. Score! THAT works! Oh. Not tonight? It doesn’t work anymore. Fuck. What now? I thought we were going to do this? Now you are doing that? I’m confused and frustrated. Let’s start over.
All while you Pony are spitting up, burping up, scowling, howling, laughing, gurgling, and trying to sleep or fight sleep as best you can. Meaning, you are just being a baby through it all while we fumble along as your parents. But at least we are trying. That much I believe to be good and true.
Let’s take the last two evenings- for example. Because both had elements of success and complete failure in both of them.
It all began with a book. Those damn books…
I picked up The Modern Parent by Michel Cohen M.D. who is a French pediatrician in New York and father of three beautiful little girls. He tells it like it is, straight up, no holds barred and I really like that about him. He has this A-Z guide for just about every question you could have about babies and childcare. A dear friend recommended it. And she has two little wonderful girls. He goes from adenoids to the x-rays and everything in between.
He has this little note at the end of his book-
Voila! It’s the end of the alphabet and the end of the book.
But I hope it’s also a new beginning for you, an opportunity to embrace this softer approach to childcare. You’ve got my song in your head by now:
Kids are tough
tune them up
fix what needs fixing
stand by them
stand up to them
Your love will take care of the rest
I also hope The New Basics has given you the confidence to relax and trust your intuition so that when it comes to the health of your child, you’ll rely less on this book or any other.
Thank you for letting me make this house call. I am delighted to have been a part of this important time in your life. My warmest wishes to you and your family.
So what’s not to love and trust about this guy?
He doesn’t subscribe to switching boobs while breastfeeding, militantly burping babies, worrying about the fore and hind milk, attachment obsession, doing gymnastics to release gas, the urban myth called colic, rigid nap and sleep schedules, and tummy time.
What he does subscribe to is The Witching Hour and how to handle it. He says if she’s dry, fed, and cuddled and nothing else works to soothe her she’s probably over tired and over stimulated so let her cry for five to ten minutes, pick her up, put her down, five to ten minutes, repeat until she’s soothed herself to sleep.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it?
Pony love. Two nights ago you were positively witchy and no amount of parenting somersaults were going to stop your fussing and you kept wanting to eat which kept making you throw up and you wouldn’t take a pacifier or a pinky so we did it- we let you cry for ten minutes. It was the hardest ten minutes of my life. Almost. I might be exaggerating a bit there because last night was pretty awful too. However, after I picked you up and soothed you I put you back down and you only cried barely at all for another eight minutes before you fell asleep.
Score!! Said Papa. I wish I could have a stiff drink. Said, Mama.
I felt sick and sad about it all day. I called the committee to consult and read every sleep book we had ever been given or bought on our shelf. By the end of the day, I was a basket case of too much information and opinions. It’s my drug of choice these days.
So we tried something different last night.
It didn’t work. I tried staying with you while you cried. You only looked at me like I was the antichrist and ended up in hysterics that took hours to calm you down from. I never want to experience that again. Ever.
And what I have come back to- once again- is that I have to I must I trust my intuition and use what works for this family and fuck the rest. And that includes other people opinions and books. It would be so much easier to say oh we are doing attachment parenting or RIE completely. Because what I know from my own life is that it is much easier to live in black and white, to live in the extremes and to label myself as this or that. It is so much harder for me to live in the grey area, walk the middle road, be an intuitive collage from one day to the next. But it is where I continually strive to live.
So tonight we will do something different yet again. We’ll take into account each of our personalities and dynamics as a family and we’ll create our own unique experience, one that works for us.
It just might take awhile.
And then it could all change the next day.
Because you my heart and love, are changing too.
You are so incredibly brilliant and dynamic. I can’t stop talking to you. I love your eyes. They say so much. And your smile. It’s beginning to grow bigger and bigger.
It’s all one big experiment anyway, Papa and I are home night and day with the bunsen burner on and our notepad out, learning as best we can.
In fact, what’s kind of interesting, is that after the horrors of last night, we all slept the best and longest we have in a long long time (you ever) and today you are a dream baby. I am having so much fun with you and you are soothing yourself for naps like a little angel.
So who the fuck knows. No one knows our baby or our family but us.
I intend to honor that.