It Wasn’t Me And It Isn’t You

perfect-mother1

It wasn’t me and it isn’t you.  No, I’m not talking about winning the lottery, but rather the misconceived perception that a “difficult” baby is somehow a direct affect of parenting.  This has been a long lesson learned, one that was not actually realized until I had my second child.

My first child was (and remains to be) the aforementioned child I speak of.  One of those high-maintenance, won’t sleep unless the stars are aligned correctly, needs to be in your arms, consumes ALL your attention, children.  As an infant I couldn’t put him down or he would cry, he was up every two hours during the night, and seemed to get upset about anything (two and a half years later not much has changed.)  I talked to all my doctors, picked the brains of friends, spoke with a lactation consultant, googled questions hourly, and still saw no progress. I joined mom groups, went to support groups on breast feeding, and would bombard random strangers who had children with questions regarding how they got their child to sleep more.  No success. No change. I believed I had to be doing something wrong.

Over time we adjusted, but it never got easier, more so that we simply got “used” to him.  I couldn’t figure it out, and was too type A to accept the loss of control that was occurring. “Normal babies nurse with no issues, why isn’t he?”  “Normal babies sleep during the day, why not him?” “Normal babies can go hours during the night without waking, is he not eating enough, sick, teething?”  I took life one day at a time, always hoping that the next day I would discover the secret formula that other mothers were obviously using and not sharing with me.  I never did.  Fast forward two years and I now realize how wrong I was.

Children are different.  The typical baby will nurse easily, sleep most of the day, and gradually take on more sleep until they are sleeping through the night.   My daughter proved all of this.  Right out of the gate she was different from my son.  Always happy, with bouts of fuss at night.  Slept most of the day, and by 3 months was starting to sleep through the night.  We did nothing differently, yet she was a much, much, much easier baby.

Parenting is a tricky thing.  It sucks most of the time, but has occasional instances of so much love and joy that you could never imagine life with out those crazy monsters.  Somehow, the good abundantly outweighs the bad.  I used to see people with multiple children and wonder why they would have chosen to put themselves through parenting so many times.  Often, I would stop and ask them point blank, why they had so many kids?  Most of the time they wouldn’t know what to say, and replied with a vague answer akin to “I just love babies.”  I now know the truth.  They had easy children.  They had children like my daughter.  She is enough to make me want to have 4 more children (had I not had child number one, and know what could happen.)

I am so grateful for my children, not only do they bring life to my life but they have taught me that I’m not as great as I thought I was, and I also don’t suck as much as I thought I did.  I didn’t screw up my son (yet?) He is one of those temperamental, difficult children who I believe will change the world and move mountains. And I believe he will never stop “keeping me up at night.”  If you are blessed with one of these children, I’m sorry.  Its going to be tough.  Take it one minute at a time, don’t beat yourself up for drinking at 4pm, and try to accept the messy, crazy, difficult little one for who they are.  The minute you accept and quit trying to change, the easier it will be.

Ever child is different.

It wasn’t me, and it isn’t you and I have proof.


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