Thursday, January 19, 2012
Even before Lana arrived, I was learning that lesson. The songs in my iPod playlist were carefully hand-selected for the occasion of birthing a baby. It was the perfect playlist, matching every possible mood and situation that could come up in the delivery room, with an appropriate tune - from the Amelie soundtrack (early labor, just getting warmed up) to MJ and Jamiroquai (getting a little harder) to Bon Jovi--specifically, Shot through the Heart--and Metallica (the real deal). After I made the playlist, I had this romanticized notion in my head of delivering Lana (in a mere 5 min. of pushing, obviously) with my beloved music playing in the background. And then I would be happy but tired but still look really good in my post-delivery picture and everyone would say omg you totally don't look like you just had a baby! Ok well, if you read my previous post, you know that this did not happen. (I looked bloated after the c-section and refused to take a picture for days.) It was hard letting go.
I am a control freak. And a perfectionist. Having a baby is completely at odds with these two styles. Life is not in our control, but before you have a baby, you at least feel like you have some control. For the most part, you sleep when you want, eat when you want, go out when you want, read when you want, make plans and then carry out those plans, etc. If you want to spend half a Saturday reorganizing your closet first by article of clothing and then by color (don't judge), you can. Then this little blob comes into your life and, well, frankly, it's a hot mess.
There is no rhyme or reason to what they do sometimes. Before becoming a mom I remember other parents talking about baby's sleep ALL. THE. TIME. I never realized how much of a battle it is. I thought it was easy - you just put baby to sleep. I had to let go of that stupid idea. I had to let go of the stories in those stupid baby books that make it seem like it's easy to get baby to do [insert whatever it is you want baby to do] (whose babies are those anyway?). I had to accept that babies do what babies do, which often means it takes an hour to put them to sleep for a nap which lasts 30 minutes. When you are so new to this utterly bewildering role called parent, you are so desperate for anyone to tell you anything that might help. I talked to mom friends constantly, I bought a million baby books and read them all, I read every baby blog and website there is. But I realized that in the end, what I needed wasn't a how-to on raising a baby. What I needed to do was let go. Don't get me wrong - you should do your research. I learned so much talking to friends and reading. But by 'the end' I knew basically everything I needed to know - what I was really searching for was a quick fix, one that would fit nicely into my control freak and perfectionist scheme. That, I assure you, doesn't exist. Once baby starts sleeping well (for us, at 3 months) and you start enjoying 12 hours of sleep with only one interruption, baby turns 4 months and then goes through sleep regression. Then baby starts teething. And on and on and on.
I'm realizing that all these difficult aspects of parenting aren't really anomalies but the norm. This is what being a parent means. You spend forever trying to get them to sleep well. Then they regress, sleep well, regress, then finally they sleep well. Then they don't eat well. Then it's a battle to get them to eat some veggies and not just half a chicken nugget, two french fries and a go-gurt. And then they go to college. So I better let go and enjoy it all before Lana goes off to college.