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Mother-Judger

Disclaimer: If you are a parent and I see you in public, I am watching you; and I am judging you.

Let’s get something straight: I’m a mom, too. I’m not judging you because I think I’m better than you. I’m not even judging you because I’m a bitch (because I’ m not – I happen to think I’m a very nice person). I’m judging you because I’m a mom and I’m trying to learn the lay-of-the-parenthood-land; the rules of motherhood, which sadly, do not exist.

As a new parent, you have to start somewhere — be it a book, a website, or watching others. We are all judging you, and judging each other.

I’m part of a few different parenting groups on Facebook. They are wonderful and helpful – we share knowledge and support one another.

Fast-forward to yesterday. I posted a random comment to one of the groups about a woman, who I did not know, that I had observed in a shopping mall with her young infant, and how an interaction between the mother and infant had made me sad because based on my knowledge and opinion, it did not seem to be in the best interest of the baby. I had really wanted to go talk to this woman about it, but because I’m not that creepy stranger, I did not.

Most of the comments my post got were “normal” — but two women in particular, commented back about how what I had said was “super-judgey.” Another pregnant and soon-to-be-new-mom said I was an example of what she was afraid of when she becomes a new mom — another mother passing judgement.

Now, at first I felt really bad. I had not meant to offend anyone. When I shared what I saw at the shopping mall with the Facebook group I hadn’t done so to poke fun at that mother (who was a stranger I had never met) or belittle her choices. I shared it because it was relevant to the Facebook group and the choices we, the members, had all made with our parenting style.

After a brief moment, I got over feeling bad about my comment, and then instead, I felt mad. I was mad because these women were judging me! Then I got over these emotions all together because that’s when it hit me — we are all judging each other, all the time. Passing judgement is how we are able to interpret our surroundings and decide how we want to live our lives. These judgments are not always negative, and they are not always positive — they just are. If we didn’t pass judgement on the actions and choices of others, we ourselves, would never make any choices.

So when I say I’m judging you, I really am. Especially your parenting. Because the way you parent is helping me decide how I want to parent: that I want to breastfeed; that I want to use cloth diapers during the day but disposables at night. That I want to teach my son about nature and be honest with him about his body and the way that it works by using anatomically correct terms; that I will vaccinate my son; and that I won’t buy him a million Christmas presents because I don’t want a bunch of junk laying around my house (among other reasons).

And just because I am learning from the way that you do things and may choose a different way of doing them doesn’t mean that I think what you are doing is wrong. It just means that I want to do it differently.

So again, be warned: if you are a parent, and even if you’re not, I am judging you. And I hope you’re judging me, too. Because honestly, if we all took the time to notice and appreciate and study the way other people are raising their children, we might find a collective better way to do things together. So please, call me a mother-judger. This is one type of name-calling that will not offend me.

I leave you with Justin Timberlake-inspired words from his amazing digital short with SNL back in 2011: Cuz I’m a mother-judger, you’re a mother-judger, we should judge each other’s mothers.” 

If this reference has just flown over your head, please, Google it — you can thank me later.

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Sweet, sweet slumber

I’ve waited exactly one week to write this post, simply because I wanted to be sure of the results of the little experiment my husband and I conducted before reporting them to the world (and by “world,” I mean my like 10 blog followers. Thank you, oh wee-blog-followers).

So, this post is about sleep…

Liam’s sleep-timeline:

Newborn (0 – 6 weeks): Liam did what I’d say most newborns do: He woke every few hours in the night to nurse. Normal new-mom stuff. 
6 weeks -2 months: Baby Liam slept like a dream. He woke once a night to nurse. Other mothers were sincerely jealous of me. 
2 months – 5 months: Up every 4-5 hours in the night to nurse. I think teething pains had him waking more often – this kid popped his first tooth at three months!
6 – 9 months: Liam digressed to waking up every 2-3 hours… change of diaper, and nurse… OMG. My body was not used to this. 
9+ months : BABY LIAM GETS UP ZERO TIMES PER NIGHT. You heard me right: ZERO TIMES. I know that is probably not the proper way to say that, but it carries with it the most emphasis, so I’m saying it that way. 
What brought about this change, you ask? Sleep-training. 
GASP!

Now, with all my pro-breastfeeding and baby-wearing ways, I tend to run with a click of mommas who are very “natural-based” and attachment-parenting-based in their thinking: i.e., baby cries – you answer cries; or, you co-sleep in the same bed as baby (Brady and I were never comfortable with this, nor did we want a baby in our bed).
For a few months now, my husband and I could not shake the feeling that Liam was able to sleep through the night… but I kept repeating the words I’d heard at momma-meetings so many times… “he needs you – answer his cries – babies can’t sleep through the night” etc. etc. Now, I am not at all dogging these words of advice. I just couldn’t shake this feeling that getting up with my 9-month old was not what he needed. 
So, last weekend, I all of a sudden decided I wasn’t going to get up anymore. Period.
With the support of my parents and a friend who also sleep-trained her baby (shout-out to Mel! You can read her hilarious momma-blog here: http://www.stlukescrblogs.com/ ) and of course my awesome husband, that night we turned off the baby-monitor and just went to sleep. We woke up to Liam crying at his usual time. We watched him on the monitor for 20 mins. as he moved around his crib, and alternated crying and silence. I reminded myself that he was safe. And then something magical happened: he went back to sleep and didn’t wake up again until morning. 
Since that first night, Liam has slept the entire night through – for one week so far. I can tell he moves around, but after he wakes, he puts himself back to sleep. 🙂
Now, everything I read about sleep-training and everything I’d heard from others said that most babies will spend the first night of sleep-training crying for around an hour, and then cry less and less each night (3-5 nights total). It took Liam one night, speaking testament to my Doi! moment that you have to listen to your gut when it comes to your kids. One of my closest friends tried sleep-training with her daughter, only to have her daughter throw-up from crying so hard. Sad faces. 😦 Sleep-training was not right for them, and that’s ok! But it was right for us. 
My baby is now happier during the day. He naps better during the day. Even our awesome daycare provider has noticed it. Yippy! 

To wrap up this post, here’s my Doi! moment:
I was listening to what everyone else had to say about my baby’s sleep, and wasn’t listening to myself. All children are different. My son needed sleep-training. It was right for him; it was right for us.

When you become a parent, you will begin receiving advice from everyone and their dog about what is best for children (no, Fido, the baby doesn’t need your tennis ball…). Screw that. I know people mean well, but my biggest advice? NOTHING. Nothing at all. Listen to your gut about your kid. Period. End of story. Adios and have a pleasant tomorrow. I know I will have a pleasant tomorrow… because I’ll be getting a straight eight hours of sleep… PEACE! 🙂

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And then there was blood…

Walking baby… expect the worst. 

Oh man.

Liam is super close to walking. He pulls up on things. He walks along holding onto things – constantly. He walks across a room if you offer him a hand. And he can bend from standing to pick up a toy, and stand back up again.

We are so proud of  him.

Now – Brady and I believe that Liam needs to learn about gravity. Therefore, we let him do “controlled falls” – meaning that if we don’t think he’s in any real danger of seriously injuring himself, we let him fall. No sense in always catching him – he’s gotta learn from his mistakes.

And I need to learn from my mistakes.
TWICE in the last three days, Liam has fallen and bitten his tongue.

Round One

The first time was sooo my fault. He was walking along the coffee table… I was sitting right behind him, ready to catch if he fell so he wouldn’t hit his head. He started to stumble -I grabbed him – but it was too late: he hit his little jaw on the coffee table and chomped off the very tip of his tongue. I’m not kidding. The screaming. The tears. And good god: THE BLOOD. 

It bled for quite a while. All over his jammies, all over me, and all over the wet dishtowel I let him suck on. The poor guy. That night, I could tell it hurt him to nurse. 😦

Round Two

The very next day, Liam went from standing to sitting on his little diaper butt. Guess what – he bit his tongue AGAIN! EFF. This time, there was not as much blood, but there were still tears. Saddness.

Conclusion

I have decided that not only does my baby need to learn about gravity, but also about moving his tongue since he now has little razor teeth that will slice the shit out of it. However, I have NO idea how to teach “controlled tongue moving.” Any thoughts are appreciated. 🙂

I wish myself luck and hope his poor tongue will be spared, at least for awhile.