My recent stay in hospital revealed to me that I am much more of a rules person than I thought I was. Rules are ok; they have their place. But rules and small babies don't mix.
I've decided to ignore the baby books. I partly blame those so-called 'baby whisperers' for the mess I've ended up in. The nonsense they peddle to nervous first-time parents is criminal. Have a strict schedule and your baby will sleep through the night at six weeks. Let your child sleep in your bed and they will still be sleeping in your bed when they're in high school. Don't let them suck their thumb or they'll still be sucking their thumb when they're 18. Let them cry otherwise they'll manipulate you and will turn out to be a wuss. You get the drift... Of course I wanted to do things 'right'. I'm a first-time mum. I didn't have a clue. Friends recommended these books. Some were a bit more full-on by telling me I HAD to have a schedule otherwise I'd have a child hanging off my boob all day. Yep, those books combined with my ordered, structured personality were a ticking timebomb just waiting to explode.
What I learnt in the MBU is that when it comes to babies the only rules are good old-fashioned common sense, flexibility and love. I drove myself mad trying to find the 'secret ingredient' to get Rory to sleep longer. The only thing to do is resettle, resettle, resettle, and cuddle without the fear that I'm still going to have to cuddle him to sleep when he's a grown man! I'm going to treasure these cuddles right now because they'll be over before I know it.
Many of those baby books treat all babies the same. That the same routine etc will work for ALL babies! What rubbish! Babies are different just as all children and adults are different. Before I had Rory I needed a good eight hours sleep a night to function, but I have friends who get by just fine with five. I allowed myself to be convinced that there was something wrong with my beautiful son. That just because he wasn't a good sleeper during the day that it erased all of the lovely things about him. So he doesn't sleep for very long, so what? He's got the best smile and laugh. He loves people. He's very handsome. He loves to kick his little fat legs, especially in the bath. I get annoyed when people ask me if he's a 'good baby'. What's a 'good baby'? One that sleeps all the time? If that's the yardstick, then he'd be a 'bad baby'. I was guilty of seeing him like that. I wanted a robot instead of a son. One that followed the rules perfectly. I couldn't see what a gift I'd been given.
I came to hospital desperate that they 'fix' Rory's sleeping for me. They gently showed me that I was the one who needed to be 'fixed'. With a more settled mum, came a more settled bubba. I needed to be freed from 'following the rules'. When it comes to babies, the rule to live by is learning to be that patient, wiser, kinder person who helps them grow up in this world.
|This was taken a few weeks back on the 12th April -|
mine and Duncan's 5th wedding anniversary.