Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Savoring each stage

Two nights ago I read this article by Devon Corneal in the Huffington Post about how as parents we so often celebrate the firsts, but we never know when the last times are happening. My favorite quote is:
I'm not naïve enough to believe that this moment of reflection will stop me from becoming irritated, impatient, frustrated, bored or upset tomorrow when my son whines, spills spaghetti sauce on the rug or throws a fit because I won't let him stay up late. Maybe, though, I'll temper my response if I can remember how fleeting this all is. That for every moment I've prayed would end, there is something I miss.
HP and I have been having some serious napping struggles these last few weeks. I'm at a loss for what to do, which leaves my approach lacking in consistently. I have a new plan to try every day, and each one is a flop.  

On Sunday Neil tried putting HP down for each nap instead of me nursing him to sleep. That plan was a big, fat fail. The child is stubborn. By the end of the day I decided to just let it all go. Yes, he nurses to sleep right now. I'm sure that statement horrifies some who think he shouldn't be addicted to a "sleep prop."

I don't care.

He's just so little. Of course I don't want to create "bad habits," but I feel like I have been so worried about not creating those habits that I'm no longer effectively meeting his needs. The child no longer takes a pacifier (I can count on one hand the number of times he's actually taken it, and I don't even need to use all my fingers) and he needs to suck to calm himself down. So nursing it is.

I keep reminding myself that this is just a phase and will be gone before I know it. He's not always going to want to cuddle in my arms and nurse to sleep. He's not always going to refuse to nap longer than thirty minutes no matter how many ways I try to soothe him back to sleep. Both the things that I most enjoy and the things that frustrate me most about this stage will come to an end and we'll be facing a fresh batch of joys and challenges.  

What I loved most about Corneal's piece is that it wasn't overly sentimental. Of course we all want to take the time to be present with our children and enjoy each stage to the fullest, but that's easier said than done when the reality of parenting is staring you in the face. She sums it up nicely when she says, "Raising children isn't all warm snuggles and charming memories. Parenting can be a long, hard slog."  
I continually go back and forth between telling myself that "this is just a phase" so I can get through the day and telling myself that "this is just a phase" to make sure I soak it all in.

The night after I read that article I thought, "Yes, I really should savor those middle of the night feeds when I get to cuddle with him in the quiet of the night; they won't last forever." That night he woke up four times. Four.  

Maybe I don't need quite that much savoring.


  1. The mindset of "this too shall pass" is such a challenge for me. Right now it's most applicable as it relates to grad school, but if you're in the midst of anything tough (like your kiddo not napping) it's so hard to not just wish it over and gone. I admire your desire to savor the 3 am feedings and I wonder how I could make the equivalent happen in my own life.

    Also, really great photo of you and HP!

  2. With my firstborn, I had many of these struggles you're describing (the lack of consistent napping, the fear over letting her create 'bad' habits of nursing to sleep). Now, looking back I wish I had gone easier on myself. One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given is that you need to do whatever you need to do to survive ... don't avoid doing something that works right now because of the fear of what it might mean later down the road (i.e. don't worry about nursing to sleep because you think he'll always need to nurse to sleep). I promise you, someday he won't. Like I said, I struggled with it SO SO SO badly. And then one night, when my daughter was 15 months and 8 days old, she didn't ask to nurse before bed. And I cried for hours and wished I could go back and savour each of those moments a little more.

    Love on that boy in whatever way you know is best. YOU are the perfect mother for your child. Throw the books out the window :)

    God bless ya, Mama.