I am all about getting advice from other moms and dads who have so “been there, done that”, because frankly, I am pretty clueless about raising a child. I will fully admit that I don’t know when babies start teething, or sitting up, crawling, or walking. I don’t know how much to feed them or when they should start on real food. Even putting them in car seats without making them wail seems like an impossible task. However, I’m finding the solicited and unsolicited advice to be, more often than not, more confusing and frustrating than helpful. I’m trying to educate myself, trying to read a lot and ask questions, but I swear I am constantly being told one thing, and then the next day it’s the complete opposite. Just the other day I was reading positive review after positive review about this pretty cool looking swaddling blanket and watching the instruction video online, and then yesterday my sister-in-law told me, “You’re not supposed to swaddle the arms in anymore, it’s bad for the baby…” Is that really true? Who says? Why is it bad, and why then are they still making and selling these blankets that have little flaps specifically to keep the little arms in? I feel like this product looks like a dream come true for parents of colicky babies. But I guess, what the hell do I know? If everyone has an opinion about everything, how do I know who is right? Also, I feel a little sheepish about having my own opinions at this point, because I know I totally get the “look” that says, “Lady, you have no idea, you haven’t lived it yet, just you wait.” And I get that, I really do, but I wish people were a little more careful about what they said, and took more care with their advice to new and expectant moms & dads. I WANT to hear what worked and didn’t work for you, but I DON’T want you to pretend that what you have to say is the bible, and I am an idiot if I don’t follow it to a tee.
Dan’s been getting a lot of this at work from his boss and coworker whom both just became first-time dads over the last few months. So obviously, they are really in the thick of it, they live and breathe babies, so it makes sense that it’s all they want to talk about with him. But his boss especially, purposefully or not, just stresses my poor husband out about the subject. He comes home and the last thing he wants to listen to is his neurotic wife talking about the research she did on strollers that day, because that very same day he got lectured by his boss about the fact that he’s really behind if he hasn’t started looking at that sort of thing yet and there are so many reviews out there to read and it’s clearly one of the biggest decisions that you ever will make, and how do you NOT know what the difference is between a travel system, jogger, standard stroller, and umbrella stroller? Panic! Stress! Poor guy. That’s a little bit how I felt when I started looking at all the different baby-wearing products they have out there (ring slings, wraps, pouches, Mei Tais, traditional front/back carriers, ahhhh!). Last week Dan’s boss sent him home with a fricken birthing video for God’s sake. Since when do guys do that sort of thing? Honestly I don’t think most of them do. While on one hand it’s sort of sweet and endearing that he is that into it, on the other, it’s just reminiscent of his habit of micromanaging. I think we’ll both just have to try to be chill about it, but that might not be possible if he starts asking how much weight I’m gaining or whether or not I’m doing my kegels regularly. ;)
I didn’t mean for this to be one big rant. It started out as just a little list of some random musings on growing a baby and how it seems to affect those around you. Then I was going to talk about how I’m feeling a bit more at peace with caring for a baby after spending the weekend at the cabin with my brother-in-law, his wife, and their two little boys. I got to do lots of cuddling and snuggling with their two-month-old, away from the watchful eyes of others, which tend to get me all worked up and nervous. I hate holding other people’s babies in front of a bunch of other people. I spend the whole time absolutely terrified that I’m going to make him or her cry. I’m convinced that babies pick up on my nervousness which promptly causes them to fuss and cry, and the whole thing just becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Also, I am totally self-conscious about making baby-talk in front of other adults, I don’t know why. Anyway, so over the last few months, every time I held my little nephew it was in front of a lot of people, and it never seemed to take long for me to have him fussing and crying. I’m thinking my anxiety is worsened by the fact that I’m pregnant and I feel like people are saying, “Tsk tsk, how is that woman ever going to handle being a mom when she can’t even keep this perfect baby happy for more than 5 minutes?” Seriously, what is wrong with me? People don’t think or say those kinds of things! (Especially the “tsk tsk” part.) It’s like I have this deranged and warped view of a world full of judgmental and generally mean people. I clearly need to give people, and myself, more credit than that. My point with all this is that I spent lots of quality time with the little guy this weekend, and he was so sweet and funny, he cooed and smiled at me, he and Bella got to know each other a little bit, and he fell asleep in my arms. It was just nice to hang with a baby and get to know his personality. It helped to take a little of the mystery out of things, which also helps to take a little of the scary out of things as well.