Crashing Through the Underbrush

As it turns out, I’m not a reading kind of Mommy. My style of parenting is more like crashing through the underbrush: instinctual and based on anecdotes and miscellanous advice. That’s not to say I don’t read. I try to keep up with Touchpoints and What to Expect the First Year. I even read a few chapters of Babywise before throwing it across the room. But overall, despite being an ex-engineer, I’m not really a textbook kind of mommy.

This fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants method has had positive and negative results. When I started feeding Dane solids, I didn’t bother to look up a menu. I went to Target (because, really, what problem can’t be solved by going to Target?), bought a box of rice cereal, a baby spoon and those cute Playtex bowls with the car on the bottom, and went to town. Only after three weeks did I bother to read T. Berry’s take on teaching your child to eat (or, more accurately, letting him learn to enjoy mealtime by flinging food all over the kitchen). It pretty much jived with what I was doing, and Dane so far is a reasonably happy eater. Score one for mommy.

On the flip side, my recent attempts to get Dane to nap have been far less pleasant. I believe I’ve documented in a previous post how napping has, until the last few weeks, not been Dane’s favorite pasttime. So, in desperation, I turned to The-Method-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named (and boy, did I eat crow on that one, after swearing I’d never use it, and also note that I am calling it The-Method-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named because I have no interest in anyone commenting or criticising on my use of said method. So don’t.). It’s not that I went in without knowing what I was doing; I was educated enough to avoid causing permanent damage to my child. Perhaps if I had read more, however, I would’ve been (a) better prepared for how hard it was going to be for me as a mommy (leading to greater consistency in implementation) and (b) better able to handle the little kinks that have come after the big stuff has been handled. So like I said, no permanent damage to my mellow mushroom of a baby, but I might have scarred myself for life in the process. At the minimum, I’ve taken a serious knock to my (already) fragile mommy confidence.

The thing is, more often than not, when I listen to my instincts, I’m right for my baby. That’s not to say I wouldn’t be right sooner or more consistently if I did a little more legwork, or that my way is the right way. As a matter of fact, let me be clear… I absolutely DO NOT think my way is the right way for anyone else. But it is my way, and it’s (for the most part) working for me and our baby. I mean, what more can you ask for than this?

Hey, if the worst we end up with is a little oatmeal on the forehead, I gotta say it was a good day. 🙂

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