As a pregnant woman, I researched everything I possibly could about being pregnant. I read the scientific and the humorous books about labor and birth. I researched all about how diet affected the fetus. I looked into vaccinations. I admit, however, that one area I didn’t give due diligence to was the area of loving a baby too much.
Sounds odd, doesn’t it?
I had my first red flag today that I might be loving my baby too much.
Daphs has been, for the 13 days she’s been under the sun, a quiet and collected baby. She didn’t cry when she needed anything because I anticipated it. I fed and changed her at specified intervals.
Today was a different day. We had an okay night sleeping, 3 hours between feedings and changings. We hung around the house–all three of us–and got cleaned up to head out to run some errands. She slept while we were out getting our goods. When we came back to the house, Sam went to work on the truck. Daphs and I hung out inside.
Daphs didn’t really sleep or nap. She didn’t want to be in her swing. I would pick her up and hold her and sing to her and talk to her. I would then try to put her up in the boppy on the couch next to me, but she would soon tire of that. She’d enjoy her muter (pacifier) for a while then get frustrated and half spit it out and cry. This process was rinsed and repeated multiple times over the course of the afternoon and evening. She just wouldn’t relax.
I genuinely feel guilty when I put her in the swing or boppy when she is awake. I question myself, wondering if I am a bad parent for not holding her or stimulating her with conversation/textures/lights. I didn’t give this part of parenting my attention while I was pregnant. Can I hold her too much? Am I dooming her to be unintelligent because I am not reading to her and introducing textures/colors/sounds to her at this point in her life? Am I doing something wrong by exclusively breastfeeding her and not even introducing a bottle yet?
There are so many questions that I didn’t think to ask and so many answers that cannot be nailed down.
I believe the general consensus when it comes to child-rearing is to do what you feel is right. As I mentioned before, I do feel guilty about just letting her chill in the swing or in the boppy. I know this is necessary, however, for her development. She must learn to calm herself down and not be attached to me all the time. This is why I intend on introducing a bottle to her in the future. When? Don’t know. Will have to research. How do I know what is right when it comes to raising Daphne?
Sam and I come from different backgrounds and different families. We share a common goal with our family: To give love, receive love, and be happy.
We had a discussion about how the parents’ behavior affects children while we were out ugly sweater shopping. Sam mentioned that he and his mom observed a sad interaction between a father and son. A dad and mom were looking at something in a toy shop with their young son underfoot. This boy was grabbing on his father’s pants as if to get his attention. His father then whipped down and slapped his son’s hands off him and told him to cut it out and stop it. The son was dejected.
What did this father just teach his son? He just taught his son that he doesn’t want to give his attention or time to him—that the son is a bother to him. The son surely wanted to get his attention or had a question. The father, by getting annoyed and physically pushing away his son, ignored a possible teaching and bonding moment. The son now learns that his request isn’t important, that he can’t come to his father without fear. Given, the parents could have been stressed or the son could have had a tantrum earlier that set off his dad. All the same, the father could have and should have responded in love—perhaps getting down on his level or gently saying “We don’t interrupt. I am talking to momma,” and just holding his hand or putting his arm around him while he waits.
As I was walking through Wal-mart, I noticed an older woman, a young mother, and her daughter standing in the middle aisle. The young mother outstretched her arm with a toy of some sort in it towards the child. The child reached for it and said nothing. The young mother then snapped her arm back, retracting the item, and bitterly screetched “WHAT do you SAY?” The girl lowered her head and frightened, said “Thank you.” The young mother then went on a loud rant about how she didn’t raise an ungrateful child.
Now, I don’t have a problem teaching a child manners. No sir. That’s absolutely fantastic. The issue here was that there was no calm behind the voice. The mother forcefully and with anger barked at this young girl. Is that how we instill manners and respect? By force? Perhaps it was needed. Perhaps not.
I tell both of these stories not to gossip or to bash these parents. I am fully aware that there are emotions and stories behind each event that I have no knowledge of. I am an observer. I pay attention. I learn from other people’s circumstances and actions. I want to be able to handle these two situations differently–with love.
Loving a baby too much? I don’t think so. I am finishing this post and heading to the swing to wake my napping Daphne. I want her to feel welcome to tug on my pants and know that I will look down at her and give her my attention. I want her to know that manners show other people we respect them and also that we respect ourselves. I will do the best I can to raise a loving and joyous child– even if this means taking a few extra minutes in a store to use as a teaching moment rather than getting flustered and angry. My child deserves better than that.
I feel love growing inside me–more than ever. I joyfully anticipate Daphs waking just so I can talk to her and sing to her. Life is good.