Thursday, January 29

a contrary baby

In the Wildflower's 9-point-something months, I have only become angry-frustrated with her twice. Both times were in my head. That is, I didn't act out or anything. I still felt bad for thinking so negatively.

I have been Present through the horrible breastfeeding situation. I have been Present through the torture of sleep deprivation (3hrs a night average since she was born), and I have been Present through hours of irritability during the day.

I have been Present for her whilst I was recovering from c-section surgery, sleep deprived, unable to breastfeed, and having a rather incompetant husband (at the time). I am a child of the Now.

I have and do carry her in a sling or on my hip. I never leave her alone or unattended. She is up close to watch me cook and clean and knit. Other than naps or an hour or two with DIY Dad on the occassional morning, we are always together. Yep, I am an attachment and a continuum concept parent.

I am also aware of the precious fleeting time of their infancy. How this is my chance to create an everlasting bond. I am aware of the impact my behaviour will have on her psyche, for now and the future. And I am aware that other parents have serious issues to deal with compared to my own.

I am aware that I am her first point of reference for Love, Security, Peace.

All this helps me be there for her. Not wanting for her to be or behave differently. Present and accepting.

But I cry.

Sure, you'll say that, of course, I'm sleep deprived. It sends your body chemistry out of whack. Yes, there's that.

But also, I'm so sad. I'm crying now because I'm just so sad.

My poor baby spends so much time being irritable. Something that I laughed off at first as part of her innate Aries nature. Later, I came to realise that she was tired. Yet she struggles to sleep. So it is a never-ending cycle of sleep, short spurts of a Ray of Sunshine, and then hours of ebbing and flowing though crankiness.

I don't feel a failure. No, I am not that sort of thinker. I am aware that I am 110% there for her. I can't DO more.

But I am bloody down about it. It's really got to me now. I feel that as an AP/CC parent, she should be happier, more content. And I feel sad that tiredness, or whatever else it might be, might be having an affect on her developing personality. Afterall, dealing with the world as a cranky person must have an affect on your perception of the world, right?

I read other blogger's accounts of their new babies. About the joy and lovely moments and how they adore motherhood. Sure, there is occassional lack of sleep or colic, but overall, this is just the stuff you expect as a new parent.

Although I adore my Wildflower - she is My Heart on the Outside - and although her sunshine smile and infectious laughter rings through our home, I have struggled as a new mother. I have struggled having that glowing new mother experience. I spent the first few days of her life unbonded to her. I spent the first few months just feeling like a protector and nothing much more. The last couple of months have been different. There have been so many wonderful moments. I guess I just would like the moments to stretch a little further. You know, where the challenging stuff becomes the moments. And I wish for sleep - for her more than for me.
It has given me an ever greater compassion for parents of children with true challenges, such as autism.

I felt bad for even thinking negatively, because I am a strong believer in the reality of energy. That even thoughts have energy. So no matter what I was going through, I breathed in deeply and kept an inner calm, to then exude calm outwardly. I am aware of my affect on her body, mind, soul and spirit. I act and think accordingly.

Yet, my baby, who has never seen me frown, frowns. My baby, who is only ever held and handled with gentleness and love, hits. So I feel this baby ought to belong to a neglectful or distracted parent, not to me.

I guess we just want to do the best right? And when we do that to the best of our ability and the results are contrary, it's sad. I just want to make it all okay for her.

Unlike for some other parents, she smiles, laughs, and enjoys cuddles. Yes, I am grateful for that connection.

And despite all the things I have no control over, I DO trust that my parenting style is laying down a foundation of something good. And who knows, a combination of crankiness and Love might make her into one heck of a strong woman.

But today, I'm gonna be doing some crying, 'kay?

16 comments:

  1. I know that sadness well. More so now than when my little girl was a baby, as we've just been hit with some health challenges with her that have knocked us for six. Despite all that we've done over the years.

    Sometimes crying can be just what is most needed. It's connected to what you are saying about being Present - fully feeling that sadness arise and letting it be.

    With the kind of mothering the Wildflower is receiving, she may well just turn out to be a remarkable (and perhaps feisty), confident and secure woman. That kind of loving breeds much-needed courage in a person.

    Hugs
    xx

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  2. Weep your tears and keep your wonderful outlook -- you seem to be doing it the best you can and I agree that there are some things you just can not control. But in this big picture of life things happen for reasons (or at least in my mind) and though we may not always know what they are at the time, they have have a way of working out.

    Wildflower is lucky to have you! And you her!

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  3. The weariness of sleep deprivation will bring tears. That crabbiness despite doing everything right will bring tears. I know. My two year old does not sleep enough and he spends most of his day crabby. People promise it will get better but it is difficult to believe. I'm standing here at 4:30am as I do each morning. It hasn't mattered what I do my son only sleeps until around 4 each morning. So I have no advice expect to say it is okay to cry.

    One thing, I assume you've considered what you are eating and how it is effecting your daughter but if not that could make a big difference. Gluten, diary and such.

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  4. Mon, I have emailed you.

    Huge hugs to the both of you.

    xx

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  5. Oh Mon, I just wrote a long post and it got eaten! Boo hoo. I'm feeling sad you're crying today, but I understand.

    To make my (formerly) long comment short, I'll just say we had a similar situation with our firstborn, DS who's now 11. At age 3 he was finally diagnosed with acid reflux/esophagitis that was only helped with a conventional antacid at that time. He was a new child! And finally could sleep.

    Since then we've done herbs and not drugs, but those drugs were a lifesaver at the time.

    Lisa from Zahn Zone

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  6. The easy answer is that this is the first of the long letting go. Coming to terms with the fact that, no matter what you do, your child has their own way of being and their own path to take. For some children, that is a rocky path, even though we try to lay it down with silks.

    But ... That is what I said to myself all through my daughter's difficult early years. Until I learned, oh so late, that her heart condition caused her to be in a constant state of physical anxiety. After her operation, she completely changed. I knew she had a heart condition but no one explained to me how it could affect her whole being. Oh, the things I would have done differently!!

    So while I'm sure there's nothing wrong at all with Wildflower, it may be worth investigating things like diet etc as Nina suggested.

    Don't feel guilty for your crabbiness. It is an energy come from Wildflower and expressed in you so you can understand it and work with it. At least that's what I believe - that's how it works between me and my dd. I always feel what she can't express.

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  7. Mon,
    I could have written this post myself after my first guy was born. I was trying to do everything "perfect". All the AP and CC stuff, and I would even get nervous if someone else held him for more than 5 minutes. Well, Rainer had colic every night for the first three months (until I realized I could control it with my diet). I still remember feeling like I might go insane on those nights when my partner taught his night class and I held a screaming baby for hours straight. Also, I learned all these lullabys to sing to him and he hated to be sung to (he still does at 6, we can't even sing happy birthday to him).

    I learned a lot from my first baby that made my experience with Alden so much better. Above all I learned that I've got to look after myself if I'm going to have anything to give to my baby. Take advantage of any personal time you get to nurture yourself (get a shower, take a walk, take a nap, whatever). Remember to sleep when your baby sleeps. This is a gift of the first born. It rarely happen with subsequent babies. And above all, remember that your LO has come to you with her own personality. You are not responsible for everything about her. This is something that becomes more apparant when siblings enter the scene. And remember that this intense time will pass, easing you into more relaxed and restful days with your girl. As your baby grows, each little freedom you get back (personal bathroom time, normal sleep, some quiet moments alone...) will be so cherished and appreciated.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, be easy on yourself. You are giving so much, and don't forget to give to yourself as well. It's all about balance.

    Blessing sweet mama.

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  8. Hi Mon,
    I am being Present with you in your crying....

    Blessings to you and Wildflower on your journeys,
    Stacy

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  9. Oh honey. I can feel your heartache from here. I've been there with my son, only at an older age and different circumstances. It's so very hard when we do all we can and still see our children less than joyful; when we've tried all we can and still can't create that peace for our babies.

    I have no advice. You're already doing everything anyone could do and SO MUCH MORE. I can only imagine how much more "contrary" Wildflower would feel without a mama who loves and cares for her so tenderly. Hang in there mama. This too shall pass. I promise. Every mama on the face of the earth promises. Too fast.

    ::great big hugs from one mama to another::

    ~Tara

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  10. Yes, it's OK.

    My thought was something physical, as Lisa and others have mentioned. Particularly if she's tired but can't get to sleep. But then, it could also just be temperament. Obviously you are doing all the "right" things, and definitely laying a wonderful foundation of love and security.

    I was never able to carry my kids in a sling, which made me sad. It just never worked, somehow. And my son had a terrible time getting to sleep at naptime -- there were days I would spend an hour getting him to sleep and it would last 15 minutes. Then I would cry!

    Keep on. In my experience children at this age change so much. And even if it's not a phase, other things will change and grow and with you being present with it all, it will work out.

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  11. Oh, wow, I feel for you both. As precious as they were, I am grateful to be past those days (so there is something positive that has come out of your crying...my gratitude.) The mother hen in me is dying to offer sleep suggestions, but if I am honest, I think you are probably a more aware parent than I was during those days, and have probably heard them all anyway. For what it's worth, my first born was like that, and is almost five now, and definitely is a fighter in a good way, so perhaps your Wildflower is the same (my firstborn is the one that made me look into the whole Indigo child theory more, as intensity and restlessness are two of the listed traits!)

    I will say I continue to struggle with the apparent lack of connection between how I parent and the 'results', which I guess is just how it is. I have one of my three that will not eat ANY fresh fruit or vegetables, despite the same offerings and sequencing and all that as the other two, who eat them all. It drives me nuts, and I am always trying to figure out what I did 'wrong' to get her off on the wrong foot with them. I can't think of anything though, so I guess she just doesn't LIKE fruit and vegetables (for now anyway), and WHY will just have to remain a mystery...I could give a thousand other examples, as I guess any parent could. It is very humbling.

    Blessings,
    Lisa

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  12. Hey lovely lady. You can do this. You can do this. How do you know you can do this? Because you are doing this. But maybe, just maybe, she's not a cuddly baby - some children aren't. Maybe she likes space and room to move. Maybe she likes alone time - some babies do. Sometimes, when we subscribe to a way of parenting, we forget that that way of parenting was created for individuals, and that it has now become a thing of it's own, with rules and expectations, and that actually, our baby is an individual too.

    I hope that made sense. I would consider myself along the AP lines - we extended fed til 2.5yrs, he was never left, I was always there for him, but he also had time where we weren't skin skin, although there were lots of times when we were.

    You can do this. *hug*

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  13. I would love to offer you comfort but there is nothing I can say that you don't already know or do. I find that attachment parenting is the hardest form of parenting on the mother. There are no easy 'outs' there is just being there and using each day as an opportunity to get right the things you messed up the day before. My baby is 2 and I'm still getting it mostly wrong. All you can do is be present (as you are) and love her (as you so obviously do). I had sleep issues with Lily and breastfed her to sleep - it was the only way to get her to sleep properly but even now she is restless and jumps and twitches in her sleep so much that it can drive you mad. Have you heard of Aletha Solter and Aware Parenting? It's about crying as a form of release - you may already be doing some of this with you bubby anyway but if not check out www.awareparenting.com. It's a horrible looking website but its got some good info that might give you a different view. Also check out Kindred Magazine (http://www.kindredmedia.com.au/)- a woman called Marion Badenoch Rose writes about aware parenting. And cry honey. As much and as often as you like. You need to release too. You are doing a wonderful job but everyone needs some time off, even wonderful parents like you. X

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  14. Big hugs. I wish I could come and babysit for a few hours so you could take a big power nap. Or at least cook you dinner. Brightest blessings!

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  15. Oh Mon. I hear your tears fall from across the miles. I think there are some great comments/suggestions from your blog readers out there...those that subscribe to the same parenting philosophies as you do. Perhaps, as you have even suggested at one point, it's a medical thing. Could she perhaps be allergic to dairy and maybe switching to a lactose-free formula would do the trick? I am just throwing stuff out there in hopes something might resonate. One thing is for sure..You are a terrific parent, I haven't met better. Cry your eyes out dear and keep on keepin on. One way or another at one time or another, it will all get better and I'll look forward to reminiscing with you :-)

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  16. Mon, there's nothing I can add to the words that have already been written here. Just to say that, from blogland, I sit beside you and lay a gentle hand on your shoulder.
    Sam xx

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