Well, the birthday bash is over- all the cake crumbs and wrapping paper scraps have been cleaned up, the new toys have been put away, and all the leftover ice cream and chip dip is slowly but surely finding its way to my thighs. You know, the usual party aftermath. And now my baby is a big girl. Sigh.
I can't believe it's been a year since we brought home that tiny, five pound bundle of pink blankets, laid her in the bassinette, and then stared at her and wondered what we were supposed to do next. Could I have guessed then how much of a little person she would become in just one year? How intimately familiar I would be with every aspect of her habits, whims, sleeping patterns, and bowel movements? Could I have comprehended the difference in the love one feels for a helpless newborn and the love you feel for a child you have watched growing more and more into herself , her very own personality, with each passing day? Could I have estimated the number of parenting mistakes I would make in the next year? No, no, no, and no.
Here is a brief summary of the things I have failed at:
-my breast milk didn't come in fully at first because Addy was early, and I was never diligent enough about pumping to get it to come in, so by six months I had weaned her completely- and I said I was going to breastfeed until she was a year old.
-I (gasp!) bought the store brand formula after a while, after wising up to the fact that the other brands are probably only more expensive so they can pay for their advertising.
-Along the same lines, I now buy the generic Wal-Mart diapers instead of Pampers. Not the Meijer brand, though. Those things are crap!
-I didn't puree organic vegetables to make my own baby food. I buy jars. I have NEVER pureed anything. There, I said it.
-I often put Adelay to bed with a bottle of milk, even though the doctor always lectures me about it.
-Adelay has four teeth already, and I have yet to buy the little Baby Orajel gum and tooth cleaner stuff.
-I once forgot to give her Baby Tylenol before I took her to get her vaccinations.
-I sometimes don't turn the baby monitor on because when she's restless in her sleep it wakes me up (she is only a wall away, so I can hear her if she actually cries, however.)
-I used to always dilute her juice with water to cut down on her sugar, and now I hardly ever remember to.
-I never buy the jars of peas or green beans because I tried them once and they make me want to vomit.
-She watches a Baby Einstein movie almost every day. Not only that, but while hanging out with her negligent parents in the evenings, she has seen her fair share of more, shall we say, mature viewing material. (The Godfather, anyone?)
-I once had to call Poison Control Center because I found her chewing on an ant trap- and I had been in the same room the whole time!
So, there it is, people. Am I a bad parent? A lazy, selfish one? I think the last one is probably true at least some of the time. There have been days when there was too much TV and playpen time and not enough mentally stimulating interaction, and there have been times when we've kept her out past her bedtime because of our own social agenda. There have been days when I've been more preoccupied with getting my house cleaned up than stopping to smell the roses with my baby. These are not things I'm proud of, but I am facing them, taking an honest look at my parenting thus far. I am striving every day to do better.
And I am hoping that always when parenting I will keep things in perspective- juice consumption and TV watching are not issues to stress about too much, although they certainly have their place. But in the grand scheme of childrearing, there are so many, many things to worry about that you have to pick a few big ones to be a diehard about and then just be flexible about the rest, or you'll drive yourself insane, I think. Big things for me will be honesty, learning healthy ways to express emotions, and just generally being a nice person (i.e., kind, helpful, polite, not slapping your mom in the face, that sort of thing.) And most importantly, of course, is to make sure my kids feel grounded and secure in the love of their parents, and that they have a relationship with God. Everything else is just kind of a bonus. If they eat their vegetables, great. If not, oh well. There's always vitamins.
So there's my parenting philosophy in a nutshell. We'll see how it has evolved by Adelay's next birthday! Terrible twos, here we come.
P.S. I am doing much better about the miscarriage, by the way- the doctor told me that he thinks an embryo may never have formed at all, but only placenta tissue, since we never saw a heartbeat. That thought- that I may not have actually lost a child at all, but only a chance at pregnancy- has comforted me a lot the last few days.