Monday, April 27, 2009

It’s all things baby, all the time baby!

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.


Mandy said...

I am so sorry you are feeling so overwhelmed! As a mom I can tell you all kinds of things that worked and didn't work for us... but that does not mean it will be the same for you! Everyone has their own way of doing things, their own favorite items, their own timeline of when things should happen so do not feel stressed out about what others say or are doing. You and Dan are going to be awesome parents. Everything will come natural and whatever you don't know you will learn along the way. Don't read into things too much and I think too much research will just make you completely crazy, just take everyday as it comes and roll with the punches. The only thing that baby really needs is diapers, food and a carseat and of course you guys! Other than the baby can survive without all the crazy gadgets and gimics. Hang in there and if you ever want to talk I am here, and if I am ever giving you advice or my input and you don't want it just tell me to shut up! You guys are gonna be awesome parents so just try not to stress about it, just enjoy being pregnant because it will be over before you know it!!

AliRose said...

You NEVER stress me out with your advice/input Mandy, I totally welcome it... and NEED it, so don't stop! I admire the type of mother you are, and it's people like you whose advice is so invaluable! It's really that no baby or parents are the same, I just hate that so many people out there aren't open to that fact, and I hate how the competitiveness seeps in here and there. So far you ladies, my buddies who are young mothers, have been fabulous, and I love talking about all this stuff with you. It just gets overwhelming, you know, when everyone is telling you something different. ;) I'm really ok, not freaking out too much, just some interesting observations Im starting to make about all this.

And I totally agree, too much research will drive you mad!

Liz said...

I agree with Mandy...all your baby needs is a few basics and loving parents and you and Dan are going to be great! I mean, seriously, if Corey can do it, almost anyone can (there are still a few people out there that should NEVER procreate).

Please let me know if you need anything! I can't wait to see you and your baby bump on Saturday!!

Anonymous said...

You know... have you ever heard of the Universal Kiss My Ass? I figured this out probably ten years ago and it made my life better. In situations where I feel that vibe of disapproval of judgement--either I imagine it or some idiot actually says something stupid to me, I think that: "Yeah? You can kiss my ass." I don't actually say it, lol--don't need to. Just thinking it changes the whole dynamic internally for me.

If you even have to think it towards me sometimes, I would understand and not hold it against you, lol.

Also just getting old helps. I know I have some regrets and also numerous faults, but I got nuthin' to prove to nobody. You don't either, even if you're too young to really feel it.

love you, V