I am going to avoid the what I would normally write when it comes to this topic. That being “My husband and my daughter are the best things, money and hectic schedules are the worst.” Because that is boring.
The Best Thing
White noise apps.
The #1 most-used application on my Droid is “Relax and Sleep”, an app that makes wonderful background relaxation noises. Everything from rainfall to chanting monks. But the one that I use at least 3 times a day is simply the “white noise” sound.
You see, my daughter–as wonderful as she is–has a bit of a stubborn streak in her. When she is tired, she pretty much refuses to go to sleep. She will do everything in her power to keep her bright little eyes open. Naturally, when she is tired, she is also extremely fussy. You can tell when she is tired-fussy and not hungry-fussy because her eyes roll back in her head and/or do this weird side-to-side motion like she’s high on on mommy milk. I basically have to force her to go to sleep. The magic wand that I have in my power is white noise. Lay her in her rocker, turn on the noise and BAM. Out like a light. Without that, though, she could fuss for upwards of 30 minutes before finally just zonking almost mid-cry from shear exhaustion. Not fun for da momma.
I also use it all night. She sleeps better with it. She also sleeps in our bed. This has resulted in a strange phenomenon…I’ve become accustomed to it. To the point where I can’t sleep well without it. I’ll probably continue to use it even after she’s been moved to her crib in the other room. Oh well.
The Worst Thing
Baby milestone charts.
I hate those things. There is nothing in the world more likely to send a new mother into a paranoid tailspin as those blasted milestone charts. “Oh, your baby started smiling in response to your face at 4 weeks old? SHE IS A GENIUS. She’s four weeks ahead of schedule!” “Oh wait, but she is three months old and hasn’t started reaching for things yet!? You have a mentally handicapped baby on your hands.”
I will confess. During my whole pregnancy, I was so paranoid about being unprepared that I think I over-prepared. I spent at least 1-2 hours every day combing the internet for every single bit of pregnancy/birthing/baby information I could get my swollen, water-retaining paws on. After Babygirl was born, everytime her face twitched I was consulting God Google for the answer to what had the potential to be a SERIOUS ISSUE. Even my pediatrician was kind of freaked out that I didn’t have any questions for her when we took Babygirl for her first appointment.
“New parents are always wanting to know about every little thing,” she said. “So either you read a lot or you are just the perfect parents.”
I told her I read a lot.
So naturally, I have become obsessive about baby milestones. Since afterall, every article you read on baby development has a very specific time frame for when your baby is supposed to be smiling, laughing, playing, sitting up, walking, sleeping through the night…there is even a certain amount of poopy and wet diapers the baby is supposed to have each day.
For getting her to sleep through the night, everyone told me how wonderful the Babywise method was. Other people suggested Dr. Karp’s Happiest Baby on the Block. Here we are, 3 months later and she still wakes up 2-3 times a night to eat.
I’m supposed to do 15-20 minutes of “tummy time” every day to strengthen her upper body muscles and get her to hold her head up. Every time I tried to do tummy time, she just mashed her face into the ground and wailed like I was ruining her life. So I never did tummy time. And felt horribly guilty for it.
Babies are supposed to start reaching for toys and playing with them by 2-3 months. Well, we are approaching 3 months and as of yet she only likes to look at the toys and make conversation with them. No reaching. For weeks, I obsessed over this. Whyyyy wasn’t she reaching? Was it really so hard to move her hand just a little bit and grab the toy!? It would save me so much stress if she would only do this one simple task. Then I could be reassured that my child isn’t developmentally delayed.
Last week, I got sick of it. I’d had enough. I don’t care if everyone and their grandmother said I was a horrible mother for not doing tummy time. Or that she should be sleeping through the night and I should just let her cry when she wakes up to “teach her to self-soothe”. Or that she obviously is going to ride the short bus to school because she hasn’t shaken a rattle by the time she’s three months old. I’ve decided that my kid is frackin’ brilliant because she can smile and talk to me like nobody’s business. And the way she studies the world around her makes me think she’s going to be the next Aristotle.
I’ve decided that every baby is different and I am banning myself from ever looking at a milestone chart ever again.
…although I still might breathe a sigh of relief the day she finally grabs the toy that I’m holding in front of her face.