Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Well Behaved Child Part ONE

Yes, I still haven't finished my Working In the Home theme...I'll get to part 2 soon!

This is a vent post. I think.

Nothing like family to leave ya feeling incompetent and stressed out. :0D

Okay not really.

It's just the "Oh she's a good baby."mindset. (What is a good baby, really?) "Oh well if you train her right you'll have a well behaved child that will make people want to become a Christian." attitude. Oh and did you know that it's rude to let your 3 year old have a carrot stick before we've prayed??

I'll get back to it.

I've been having a random (or perhaps not so) fit of insecurity. Oh Mothering, it's not easy.

I'm a baby person, I've always been a baby person...I love them.

Growing up I just had a natural "knack" with babies. They like me, I could almost always get them to calm down in their parents absence. They liked me and I really liked them. You get it. I didn't mind getting spit up on, drooled on, chewed on. I didn't mind holding a screaming baby. There was nothing I liked more than calming an upset baby down and getting them to fall asleep in my arms. It was the best. I would hold and bounce that tired upset baby and dream of holding my own babies some day.

Then I had my own baby, and I wasn't good at it. Okay I wasn't bad at it. But there were all these hormones and instincts, the crying broke my heart. I was this little persons MOMMIE- if I couldn't make it better who could? I thought I knew babies, until I met Roo. Oh that girl gave me the run for my money. I'm so glad.

This is SO Roo...The, REALLY Mom, REALLY? look
5 weeks old

Oh my sweet Roo girl. She's growing way too fast. She spits out sentences like, "Oh that was horrible." and " Youw're the best Mommie in the whole wide wowld." and "You weally hewt my feelings." And some times mouthfuls of words she can't wait to get out, so nothing intelligible comes out! Oh but the expression on her face is so earnest and and sweet.

I'm so thankful for the lessons she's taught me. She taught me what it was like to hold my baby, to know my baby. to be so familiar with her in my arms that it felt wrong when she wasn't there.

So to my point...I'll try.

The "good" baby thing bothers me. I took a lot of stalk in how you parented, before I had kids. I thought you did a,b, and c and you would get x,y,and z results. And to a point, that is still very true. But I though parenting babies had more of a science to it. And then I had Roo. I thought babies were easier. I thought I would be a good Mom. That I would have an orderly baby who slept, ate and pooped at regular intervals...That's what babies do, right?

I thought a good baby meant I was a good Mama.

My babies weren't "good". My babies have been inflexible at certain stages (okay, make that most stages), they aren't much for sleep. They teeth horribly and with great noise and crank (erm, GUSTO!). They hate to travel and be out of their routine and element. They make every one around them know their misery in these situations and glue themselves to Mommie like little octopi. They don't like new people (though they surprise me at times). They had an insatiable thirst for breastmilk. They aren't big on new places (unless it's outside). They don't like to seperate from Mommie (or Daddy) and protest loudly when some one even approaches with the "I'll hold that baby" gleam in their eye.

They are the epitome of a "bad" baby.

So I must be a bad Mommie, right? I did it to them. I spoiled them. I held them too much, I let them sleep near me, I nursed them too much and should have weaned them sooner (Friendly at 20mos, is still nursing several times a day and a bit at night). Doing those things didn't make my babies mellow like I felt like several parenting sources promised. It was hard!

But you know what? It wasn't about their behavior. It was about what they needed. They came out that way. A little feisty, a little bit more vocal, a bit on the strong side personality wise. They knew what they needed, and they made it known. And my instincts kicked in and I gave. Some times I found ways to meet their need by breaking rules. They didn't sleep well and they needed lots of milk and closeness to Mommie. So I brought them into my bed. I didn't wean them or hold them back, I embraced them.

I heard the analogy recently and I loved it. Imagine you are SO thirsty and you ask for a drink. You hubby brings you a drink and you guzzle it, but right when you are starting to feel the dryness leave your mouth, your hubby snatches the drink away and says, "that's enough, you don't need so much...Too much water will spoil you!" Oh how you looong for that water! You start to crave it more than any thing. It's all you can think about, it dictates every thing about you. YOU HAVE TO HAVE MORE!
How would it be different if your hubby handed you the water and let you drink, and drink, and drink until you were satisfied? You'd happily fill up and be on your way. You wouldn't give water a second thought. It was there if you needed it. Some times if you had a lot going on you might need a bit more water than usual, but it was available.

The same idea is what fueled my instincts. My children needed me. They needed more. It wasn't about how it made me look as Mama. It didn't matter if it made them look like "bad" babies. I am their first expression and understanding of God, what a huge responsibility. I want them to know, I'm here...I'll always be here, my love, commitment, and time for you will never be rationed. Drink fully my baby, drink fully. And when you get your fill, at some point that will happen, you can run off and fly freely knowing I'm here for you...But most importantly, you'll be full of that love, you'll have seen giving, empathy, caring, grace, gentleness modeled day in and day out. You'll have seen the Father's heart for you... And as you grow I'll guide you to find you water in His arms as well. I'll lead you in prayer when you are hurt or sad. I'll pray over you. I'll be there for you.

Why is it about the outside? Why do we control the way we respond to be sure the outside aligns with what is deemed "good"?

I'll take "bad" (or could we say normal) baby and all the lessons that I have learned in giving, in learning to set boundaries in other areas of my life. The lessons of God's Grace and mercy for me.
Oh and now my Roo isn't a baby anymore. She's nearly 3.5 years old. Her cup is starting to overflow...Oh certainly she some times needs some watering! But the sweet giving and empathetic heart that is starting to appear is amazing to behold. She wants to please so very much, she is human. But I am very glad I choose to be bad.

Oh this post is so rough. I want to write more, I want to process more. I want to clarify more. But I'm afraid, I'm out of time. My children need me. Time to head back home. Part Two and more thoughts soon.

1 comment:

  1. Lots and lots of hugs to you! I believe you are a wonderful and wise mommie, and that your children are very blessed. Your analogy about the water makes so much sense to me--I think it is brilliant!


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