Saturday, July 29, 2006

My Biggest Parenting Fear

During the course of my life I have changed thousands of diapers. I have navigated the transition to solid foods. I have had graduate level courses that spent at least 2 sessions on potty training and have been responsible for helping potty train children that really just didn't get it. I have experienced, and worked on quelling, tantrums that involved room clears and chair throwing. I've worked with children who were not going to just develop social, motor, or communication skills in the way that many other children will and I have at least some idea of how to foster those skills. While this doesn't mean that I have ever actually been a parent it does mean that I, at least, have some idea of where to start tackling the issue. I have some clue as to what to expect. I know that I have dealt with these issues before and no one died or had to be sedated. However, I have never been responsible for or trained in how to get a child to sleep through the night. The same can be said for breast feeding. But, with breast feeding there is always the fall back position of bottle, lactation consultant, and formula. With night sleeping, there is no fall back. There is just this sea of advice mixed with horror stories (most notably my mother's). I have started reading books. I just finished "The Happiest Baby on the Block" and will start the "Baby Whisperer" tomorrow. I will give Brazelton his day in the sun and will be happy to at least give a passing nod to any other books that seem prudent. But, when it comes down to it, every baby is different and this will be the only one I will have done this with. I have had no "dry runs" with other people's children. I haven't been able to filter through and test run the various advice, distilling out the most effective strategies from each. I have never written an IEP for sleep or broken it down into it's most basic steps to figure out where it's all coming apart. I don't know the readiness indicators. I am going into the sleep abyss completely unarmed. It's terrifying.

In other news, I am flumoxed by how to sleep through the night myself and there are no books in the library devoted to this issue. My knees and ankles are all knobby and like a nice pillow to cushion them but this makes my hips sore faster and results in me having to turn over every 45 minutes or so by about 2am and every time I roll over I have to pee. I seem to be the only pregnant woman on the planet who doesn't actually find a body pillow useful. If I roll over a little to get the pressure off my hips, my belly muscles get pulled but I can't figure out where to stuff the pillow to get enough support for my belly and then I have to pee again just because what's more fun than peeing every 45 minutes for the hell of it. The baby has something going on with my right side and likes to huddle over there which makes my spine and ribs irritable so I try to lay on my left and let gravity help out but then it all goes pear shaped because I think my bladder is somewhere on my left side and, so, my ribs are happier but, of course, I have to pee. And, if I do manage the impossible and convince the baby to hang out in the middle of my uterus, making ribs, spine, and bladder happy (I am convinced my lungs are just inconsolable at this point), the baby becomes all about how many times can I simultaneously punch mommy's cervix and kick her ribs. I have some sort of mild congestion thing going so, I keep wanting to sleep propped up but my tail bone is sore from I don't know what but obviously something baby related and my ribs would like a moment of my time to discuss all of this. My spine and hips would also like me flat which brings me back to where I started with my knobby knees and ankles. Oh, and I have to pee...

I am beginning to think that I could achieve world peace if only I could sleep on my back for one night. My mother says that she did but she also (on doctor's orders) intentionally restricted her caloric intake to result in smaller babies so she wouldn't need a c-section so, I take most of her pregnancy advice with about 2 cups of salt.

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