So, in my ten month post for Will, I said that things were pretty routine. They are so routine, in fact, that I don't even feel like knocking on wood or throwing salt over my shoulder after typing that. The thing is, that stuff comes up all of the time that disrupts sleeping, eating, and/or playing. But we get through that challenge with less and less rebound time these days. And he can skip a nap or delay a meal and all hell doesn't break loose. Our lives are getting easier and I don't even feel nervous that I've put that out to the universe.
Yesterday, I was out to lunch with a former coworker who I became really friendly with after we both suffered a miscarriage around the same time. She is now five months pregnant with her second little girl and I am so pleased for her (even if she is the most ridiculously cute and tiny pregnant woman EVER!). Will was being his normal charming self and she asked what my secret is to having such a good eater/sleeper/baby.
I told her that there is no secret. I think they pretty much come out into this world the way they are gonna be. I mean, sure, we do some things to influence their behavior one way or the other, but for the most part, I think Will is Will. He is easy going, likes his eats, likes to sleep in his crib, and I don't really know how much credit I can take for any of that. And I am not too smug to think that the next baby will like those things. I could have a non-eater/sleeper next time around and not have done a thing differently.
When Will was first born, and for about the first three months, I thought that if I held him too much (or too little), let him cry too much (or too little), or if he ate too much (or too little), it was all my fault and the world would end. I worried that he would be spoiled or not feel loved enough. Every parenting decision I made seemed fraught with pitfalls, primed for disaster.
My dad gave me some excellent advice. He told me that kids don't remember every decision, "good" or "bad." They remember feeling loved, being loved. And I do. That is what I remember from my childhood. I don't remember what time I went to bed, if I ate my green beans, if I watched t.v., or even if I skinned a knee. I only remember the constant love that I felt from my parents. The love smoothed over the occasional "bad" times and made the good times even better. So, my dad's epic parenting advice: Love the pants off of my kid and let the rest come as it may.
So, I guess, ten months into this game, I think that is probably some of the best advice I have been given. I have been given a lot of wonderful guidance for sleeping and eating. Some has worked, some hasn't. There have been nights of 12 hour sleep and nights when I have gotten 12 minutes of sleep. There have been meals where I laughed as my son ate an entire turkey sandwich and the next mealtime when he just played with the food on his tray.
But the love thing? Well, that comes naturally anyways. And it always seems to work. Up in the middle of the night for the fourth time? Love helped. Bumped his head learning to stand on his own? Love soothed that little hurt.
And for me? Well, love helps me, too. When I have a bad day as a mom, feeling tired from those 12 minutes of sleep and kissing all of the boo boos? Well, love from my little guy tends to make it all better. I guess it works both ways.