Thursday, January 17, 2013

Going with the flow

On Wednesday, I had a doctor's appointment and Genevieve was due for a vaccination. Both went smoothly, and while our usual nap routine was thrown for a loop, it wasn't altogether a terrible trip.

When our routine is interrupted, there is always a recovery period. The recovery period usually involves an exhausted baby who can go in a moment from this:

Punch-drunk baby
to this:

The elusive "boo-boo" face, finally captured for posterity.
My normally sweet, even-tempered, happy DangerMouse has been positively EXHAUSTED the last two days. You'd think an exhausted baby would sleep better, but noooooooooo.

So, we've both been exhausted. Genevieve has wanted to be held in my arms at the exact same time that she wants to run around. She was so tired that she couldn't figure out which way was up today.

What do you do when everything is upside down and inside out? Go with the flow.

We read a little, played a little, and nursed down to "Down To The River To Pray", which makes me happy down to my toes. She didn't nap for very long, so I did something that we never do.

We sat in the glider, rocked, and watched television. Not very much, but I let go of some of the ever-present Mommy Guilt ("Oh, no! Her brain is turning to oatmeal RIGHT NOW!"), and figured if she was tired enough to stay put on my lap, we could veg out for an hour. So we did.

Generally speaking, I think mothers are too hard on themselves. We all do our best, and - in my experience - still feel like we're not doing enough. That we're always leaving our kids wanting something. It's like trying to fill a colander with water; you can try your hardest, but it's never really going to get full.

Crazy, right? A colander isn't a bowl. We use colanders to wash vegetables, strain pasta, and occasionally as an improvised helmet. Not to hold water. As parents we are a lot of things to our kids, and I think that if we agonize over the things we're *not*, our kids will inadvertently miss out on all the great things that we *are*.

I'm actively working on focusing on my strengths as a parent; I'm fun. I'm organized. I'm feeding her a nutritious, varied diet. I problem-solve. I'm creative. Most of all, I'm present and engaged. I'm a colander. Or a paring knife. (Andrew says he's our Tomato Knife.)

In that spirit, I bring you today's silver lining: her first real word. She picked up Horns to Toes and in Between by Sandra Boynton (my personal favorite), brought it to me and said "Book!" clear as a bell.

What do you do? Read her the book, and swell with pride that you're doing a good job.


  1. I would make one small correction: you're doing a *great* job. And she is one well-loved baby.

  2. Book! That's a pretty good sign of what is important to your family. Going with the flow is another sign of what's important. The best laid plans... and all. Sometimes you learn so much more about your child and yourself when you allow life to happen and don't fret about schedules and to-do lists.

    And you know that those tantrum pictures will be shown at her wedding, right?!

    (my captcha words included "eireadem", which just shows you how important READing is!)

  3. What a great first word! And everyone needs a good sit in front of tv vegging for tired souls! Being pregnant, I have found myself having way more tv days than I would like but sometimes I just need it. She doesn't sit still the whole time but we get to cuddle...then she runs off and plays and then back to cuddle. Works for everyone. :) For now at least.

  4. I little TV here and there to just veg to is okay. My son and I get that way too so I just put on a 15 min episode of Phineas and Ferb and we relax and have some quiet time. Then I turn it off and we play, read books etc. If he gets up to do something it immediately gets turned off and we go do that thing. TV is not bad it can be enjoyable and educational...just don't let it be a crutch or a babysitter.

    You are doing just fine!

  5. Oh, I'm so happy that we are done with vaccination shots until school starts. The days after were horrible sometimes and we also watched tv sometimes then (we do watch "little princess (no pink and not overly cute)" from time to time now. And I think it's ok. The Mummy guilt got a lot better after the first year, when I saw, that E & M are doing fine, even when I do "fail" or make mistakes. I'm human and I love my kids more than anything and I'm doing the best I can do and that is what counts.

  6. Sorry, but you know my fave is when she just throws her head back and waaaaails---am trying to train her to get the little hand up there too, to imply the impending doom of the universe is upon us.....heheheh

  7. As a mom of an almost 5 month old, I say thank you!! You put it into words so well. Thanks again and I think you are doing a great job!!

  8. First word is book?! You're doing a fantastic job! Yes, moms are WAY too hard on themselves. If you're a happy person that treats yourself well, you're going to be a person that treats her child well. It sounds like everything is in balance.

    But oh those sad little meltdown faces....I'm familiar with those.

  9. I have no kids of my own. Before you roll your eyes, I was a nanny for well over a decade. My first reaction to hearing about a seriously overtired baby is to start rocking because I am very familiar with Over-Tired Baby (tm). And normally I ended up rocking in the glider with the tv on quietly or a book on tape that was read by a soothing voice. Didn't really matter what the book was. And we'd just rock for a while while we listened. Sometimes the baby would sleep, sometimes not. But we both got a little rest and gradually we got back onto a better schedule and weren't quite so tired.

    You're doing fine, and this is just a bump in the road. A horrible, bone-jarring bump, but it's still just a bump and you'll get past it.


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