I am an educated woman.
I have a university degree and a college diploma. I am able to do simple math equations and can find my way out of corn mazes with ease. I have some level of intelligence.
So why is it that I can turn into a blithering fool the minute my kid does something he hasn’t done before that is totally out of character? All of a sudden I ask everyone and their mother for advice about what I should do.
He’s NEVER cried for his nap before! What’s wrong? What did I do differently? Is he okay? Should I check on him? Should I not check on him? What if his foot is caught? What if he’s wet? What if he’s hungry? What if I go to him and it makes it worse? What if what if what if???
It’s possibly the most humbling thing in the world to realize that I really have no clue what to do most of the time. I don’t care how many books I have, or how many degrees, my kids make me feel clueless.
You’d think that colic would have been enough to humble me. But nope, all it did was make me more arrogant.
“I got through colic! I can get through anything!”
And it did make me stronger, and it did empower me to handle things that are thrown at me. But it sure as heck didn’t do anything to make me better able to figure out why the heck these kids like throwing me curve balls.
In fairness to me, while other mothers were saying ‘oh, I recognize this cry. It means he’s hungry!’ all of my kid’s cries sounded the same: angry. There was no cry for hunger, cry for too hot, cry for tired. It was just ‘I’m mad at the world!’ cries. So maybe I did get off on the wrong foot as far as feeling confident to understand what my randomly raging child is trying to tell me.
My husband had a good laugh at my expense the other day when, for the fourth day in a row, I cried “he’s never done this before!” when my son cried when we put him down for his nap.
Clearly, it was becoming his new new. Something was shifting, but I had no idea what.
Do I give in to it? Do I fight it? Is he dropping his nap? He’s only 10 months, that can’t be it.
Why I assumed there was some greater reason is beyond me. He’s a baby. He does stuff. Sometimes he does stuff for a reason. Sometimes he does stuff because he’s a baby and they like to keep us guessing.
Maybe it’s something innate in babies that they need to keep us from getting complacent. My kid takes me down a notch on a daily basis.
Two nights ago I put my son down 15 minutes early, and he slept an hour later in the morning. I looked at my husband and said “That’s it! We’re putting him down too late!”
So smartypants me put him down 15 minutes early last night. He was up for the day at 5:30. I give up. I have to accept I have no clue. And if I dare suggest I do, he’s more than happy to show me he’s in charge.
Rare will be the times anyone will hear me brag about figuring something out with regards to my children. When I say my child slept through the night, that will be the last time he does for weeks. If I say my older child is a stellar sleeper and has been for years, she will start randomly waking up at 4:30am for no earthly reason.
My son popped a tooth with no fanfare so I made the mistake of saying he’s a good teether to one friend. The next few teeth he popped were accompanied by sleepless nights and rage-filled days.
Having a baby is the great equalizer. I don’t care how many letters you have suffixed on the end of you name, we are all on the same playing field when it comes to our babies.
At some point I will give in and admit I have no clue what I’m doing and I will hopefully be less frustrated when yet another mastered situation falls apart.
In the meantime, I’ll fake it.
Leslie lives in Toronto with her husband, her 2 and a half year old daughter and 6 month old son. She is presently on maternity leave and enjoying the hectic and harried life with two young children.In the meantime, I’ll fake it.
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