Monday, February 18, 2008

Cacophony of crooked cronies

Yeah, let's be honest here: I hate being told what to do. I'm always right. So much so that I tend to study up profusely on a subject if it interests me just so I can be in "the know" and not likely to make an ass of myself. For example, when I had to teach Ancient Egypt (yeah I teach middle school...or did before baby) I studied for weeks at every library in town and trolled the internet at all hours. Damned if I was gonna let a 12 year old stump me! (Er-I mean it was for the good of the children and providing them with a quality education, yadda, yadda, yadda. You get the picture). So it's not like I didn't do the same for pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. In fact, all the studying I did proved to me that there are no wrong answers when it comes to raising baby***. Everyone has an opinion. All the experts provide excellent advice which will make you laugh, thrill or cry depending on the day. Actually this realization made me quite calm when it came to giving birth-and trust me I had reason to not be calm at all (think school hallway flooding with amniotic fluid and you'd have a slight idea). But then along came my son and calm isn't always possible when parenting. I'm giving in to the fact that I don;t have the answers, I'm not always right either-but I am doing my best and that usually is enough. Right?

So, wasn't I pleased as punch today when my son first of all screamed bloody murder in his stroller at the mall after I had just fed him. And yes, many people offered up the suggestion that he was hungry-mutha f$*#kers. But I was non-plussed as I brought the back-up plan: the babybjorn. Strapped him in and headed for the bus. Only he decided he was, in fact, HUNGRY. DAMN. Capital letters. DAMN. I hate being smug and then proven wrong. Now, my heart was breaking because here I am standing at a bus stop and the bus is coming. I can't very well whip out my boob and then hop on and put my cash in the coin collector with it smacking the driver in the face. So I do everything I can to shush him. The driver takes pity on me and covers the coin slot saying "It's okay, Ma'am". (Ma'am-yuck). Thank you nice driver-score! Park the stroller and then sit down amongst-get ready for it...7 old ladies with canes. No, it wasn't the Senior's Bingo-Buffet Bus Excursion. It was the city bus, but take note: when you are a new mom you will be out and about during the day when only other new moms and the elderly are out and about.

The 7 cronies jumped on me like I was B7 and they were guaranteed heaven. He doesn't like his stroller? Well it's obvious I'm holding him too much then. Babies get spoiled-this must be your first one (knowing nods and glances abound here). "When I had my second/third/fourth I didn't...(fill in the blank). You should let him cry it out, you are coddling your baby, tut, tut, tut. Is it a boy? Oh that explains it-mommies love their boys too much. He won't grow up to be...(fill in the blank) if you continue...and on and on. Thank god I was only going a dozen or so stops. Most of this "advice" was spoken in loud "hushed" tones to each other and random strangers sitting nearby as if I wasn't even there-unless they had to ask me a direct question in order to prove their theory. And did I mention he was screaming bloody murder the whole time? He was. Was I embarassed? Yes. Did I have a headache? Yes. Did they make me feel like the lowliest, scum-mother of all time? Can I get a resounding BINGO!?

And so I wasn't calm. I almost cried on the city bus. And my F-you face just wasn't cutting it with the cronies. Thing in my head I never said: OH GO SHOVE THAT CANE IT UP YOUR C*NT!

***All the readings/seminars/pamphlets provided by the hospital, "experts", the local nurses, my provincial health organisation, the Pacific Postpartum Society, etc, etc,..point to NOT letting your baby cry it out at all. They stress that babies only communicate in one way and that's crying-its how they let you know they need something. They believe there is no such thing as spoiling a baby as they do not know how to manipulate you-yet.So they encourage highly that you respond to your baby quickly. They strongly advise against (and even the author does as well) "Ferberizing" your baby until the age of 6 months. Now did we make a conscious decision to follow this advice? Nope. I'm calm remember? It just seemed pointless for our sanity and for our son's to be sitting around on our lazy asses (which we are prone to do) and ignore his pleas (read: cries) when it was clear that holding him settled him immediately. Women all over the world have been "wearing" their babies for ages and the only really effed up generation seems to be the current one. Now, am I nervous that soon it will be hard to cut the ties and lay down some rules? Hell yes. But for now it works and my life is more peaceful, usually, with less crying. Really-all advice you get is crap. You just have to do what works for you, in the moment. So, old cronies: SUCK IT!

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