Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Learning Lessons

There are all kinds of things I thought I knew about parenting (especially when it came to sleeping) . . . & then I became a parent!  ;-)

I just knew that babies sleep all the time, so it would be no problem to follow everyone's advice to "sleep when she sleeps". Then I had Emma, who seemed to have a built-in radar that alerted her every time I tried to sleep. I don't think she slept more than 30 minutes at a time for the first couple of weeks. I cried a lot because of sleep deprivation, & Michael said, "I thought babies were supposed to sleep" very often.

I just knew that it was easy peasy to get babies to sleep on their own. Then I had Emma, who always wanted to be held while she slept. Which is why she woke up every half hour when she was a newborn. I learned to hold her on my chest while we slept just so we could sleep, & I remember feeling so blessed when I was rewarded with 2 straight hours of sleep as a result. We finally tried putting her to sleep in our hand-me-down musical swing, & that thing was a miracle worker! As long as it was on, she slept. Which means we went through a lot of batteries, because she slept in it all night every night - plus naps - until her feet were hanging over the edge a bit!  ;-)  It was wonderful! If we're ever blessed with more little ones, we'll be getting an electric musical swing for sure!

I just knew that we'd never have a "family bed" & that babies leave parents plenty of time for chores while they nap. Then I had Emma, who slept by herself in her pack 'n' play beside our bed for 3 months before changing her mind quite dramatically. All of a sudden, when she was 7 months old, she simply could not sleep by herself any more. We still don't know what happened, but I followed everyone's advice to "let her cry it out", & was rewarded with a vomiting baby. We continued to try to put her down to sleep, but every single time, we ended up having to clean a vomit-covered baby, bed, & floor (plus ourselves). So, I finally gave up & now she sleeps snuggled up next to (or on top of) me at night & in my arms during naps. It's often inconvenient, but I'm learning to do what I can when I can & not stress about what I can't get to . . . because she needs me, & that's more important.

I just knew that I would be a Mama who got up before everyone else to get a shower & be ready when my family arose every morning. Then I had Emma, who knows when her Mama is not right beside her in the bed & wakes up protesting. One time she even sensed - in her sleep, mind you - that I was fixing to sneak out of the bed, & she woke up long enough to push me back down so she could crawl on top of me. Which, of course, made me laugh!

Actually becoming a parent opened my eyes to all of the things I thought I knew, but didn't. Emma's taught me plenty more lessons than are expounded upon here, & many more are to come, I have no doubt. But there is one more lesson that she teaches me every day, & it's the most important one of all.

I just knew that having a baby would be one of the most profound, most rewarding, most life-changing blessings of my whole life. Then I had Emma, who proved me right even beyond my wildest dreams. She has been such a joy, & each day my love for her grows . . . which always astounds me because my heart almost bursts with love & you wouldn't think it could hold any more! Yet it always does! She has shattered so many of the things "I just knew" about parenting before she came along . . . & I couldn't be happier.

*Note:  This is a light-hearted post about how Emma has changed some of my pre-conceived notions about parenting. I am not looking for advice on how to get Emma to sleep on her own. We're happy with our arrangement for now. Thanks for reading!