You know what I’ve learned about myself as a parent lately?Â The more I wing it, the better I do.Â The minute I try to organize or control something, everyone is miserable – me included.Â The thing about the first baby is that all of your attention is focused on him.Â I knew Bean’s schedule like the back of my hand.Â I knew when he’d be hungry almost to the minute.Â I knew when he’d get tired and when he’d be more alert.Â And I thought that was because he was an easy baby.Â But I’ve discovered that maybe it wasn’t that Bean was such a good baby.Â Maybe it was that he was the first baby.
Which leads us to Miss Gracie.
Gracie is 14 weeks old (I think, but I’m really bad at the weekly counting thing with babies). I thought she was doing just fine. She seemed happy. We were all happy. Life was good. But then started to worry that I wasn’t paying enough attention to her development because we were so active with Bean Man, so I had to go and check out Babycenter.com and that happiness quickly turned into, “MY BABY IS BROKEN! I THINK I BROKE MY BABY!”
According to BabyCenter.com, my little Chumbawumba should be sleeping through the night in 5-6 hour stretches. And sometimes, Gracie does sleep in long stretches like that. But sometimes she lays in her crib awake all night long, wanting me to stand there and keep her company. She doesn’t want me to pick her up. She literally just wants me to stand there while she gives me these goofy, gummy smiles.
Not that I mind. I mean, it’s not like I’ve got too many other plans at 3:00 in the morning.
You know what I think it is? I think that 3:00am is the only time Gracie gets all of my attention. She’s not competing with her brother at 3:00am. Because he’s sleeping. Like a normal person. So, Gracie likes to just, you know, hang out at 3:00am.
It started out as a midnight feeding. She’d wake up between 3 and 4:00am for a bottle when she was itty bitty and that was totally acceptable. I was happy to do it. Of course, I was also still on pain medication, so I was pretty happy to do anything, really. But gradually, she started taking less and less of her bottle and spent more and more time staring up at me, giggling. And, she’s cute and all, but at 3:00 in the morning, gummy giggles only take you so far with me.
So, last week, after almost two weeks of this, I remembered what we did with Bean when he was transitioning into sleeping through the night. We’d give him a “twilight bottle.” Basically, we’d sneak into his room and give him the bottle while he slept without touching him or picking him up. Then, he still kept his belly full, but he’d stay asleep. So, I tried that with Gracie and it works pretty good. She’s a sllllloooowww eater thanks to her reflux, but she takes about 3 ounces in the middle of the night and then goes right back to sleep.
Everybody wins, right?
After reading Babycenter.com, I decided that she shouldn’t even be topped off like that. So, I started picking and picking at the situation and now we’re all miserable. I decided that Gracie needed to be awake more during the day. That was her problem. She would sleep longer at night if she was sleeping less during the day. Makes sense, right?
The longer I kept her awake, the more pissed off she became. And the more pissed off she became, the longer she stayed awake. Vicious cycle. And, of course, the sudden onset of crying all the time put mine and Chris’s nerves on high alert, which meant we started to snip at each other. Then, it culminated in a huge fight tonight as we walked around the house, trying to soothe Gracie and with Bean right on our heels. And did I mention that Bean is now repeating everything we say? Like E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. So, I’d snap at Chris in this snotty little tone and say, “Well, that’s just perfect.” And Bean would then start saying in a very happy voice, “That’s perfect, Mommy!” Then, Chris snapped at me that I should just do things my way and quit picking fights. And Bean then started saying in a very happy voice, “Do it your way, Mommy! Do it your way!”
It was like fighting in stereo.
So, what’s the wise, wise lesson I’ve learned this week that I can pass on to all of you? Well, there are several:
a) Babies move and groove and grow at their own pace, whether you think you’re in control or not. Ain’t nothing you can do about it.
b) Husbands like to be consulted, not bossed around. Ain’t nothing you can do about that either.
c) Toddlers enjoy being a part of all discussions, no matter how tense. Ain’t nothing you can do about that one neither.
d) Gummy grins in the middle of the night are still pretty freaking cute. Ain’t nothing you can do about it.
There you have it, my friends. Words to live by.