I am now in the business of deciding. Decisions about when to start on solids, how long to swaddle, where and how long I let my baby sleep, how often I feed, what book we will read in playtime, how to plan for discipline in the future, how long to let tears interrupt sleep, and so forth. Everyone I encounter differs on each issue, some varying on extremes, others balanced.
I am learning to celebrate the diversity as I step into my own role as a parent, steadily watching my baby’s cues and needs. It is becoming a process of confidence without pride. My nature is to please, and as a result of this tendency, insecurity runs deep through my veins. Rather than embrace the diversity or parenthood, I would often hide inside my head wondering if I’m doing it “the right way” or the way that I want others to see me parent. Don’t even get me started on those books.
Things are changing, however, as I sit and talk with other mothers, eager for wisdom and perspective. My good friend Jess always comments on how cool it is that there are so many ways to raise a child well, and I think I’m starting to believe her. (wink, Jess). No one can really claim a “right way,” because every child is different; as is every parent.
Here is our parent profile, in a nutshell.. at this point… at three and a half months… with Elianna… (see the variables?):
We wear baby on most public outings, unless we are at the mall or some other place for an extended time and then we turn to the stroller. She will only face out when awake, and will only be craddled for sleep. We cuddle in our bed every morning before getting ready for the day. She used to sleep during this time, but now she plays. We do not let her cry in her crib longer than five minutes unless in the bathroom, and even five minutes is rare. I’m ok with that. She uses a pacifier though I’m hopeful she’ll find her thumb. I nurse semi-on demand, two hourse being the minimum time between feedings. We are currently weaning her from the swaddle. We will start solids shortly after four months (she follows our spoons when we eat cereal and opens her mouth when we do). We keep her on a loose routine every two to four hours – structured but flexible. I read Baby Whisperer, What to Expect in the First Year, and a Pediatrics book for resources. We will start potty training early – because we’re crazy like that. We use cloth diapers. We wake her up if her naps are longer than three hours so as not to confuse night and day. And we let her pick out her own outfits by gauging which onesie gets the best reaction. True story.
What is your parent profile? If you are not a parent, what sort of parent do you hope to be? I’m all for celebrating diversity without pushing parenting beliefs on others… so let’s hear it all!