A few weeks ago, I texted my sister a really cute photo of my son, sleeping peacefully in his new, big boy car seat. She replied back, and then sent a second message asking, “Is he holding… a lint roller?” Well, the answer was yes. Of course he was holding a lint roller. I’m not ashamed to admit that Grey has a weird obsession with the lint roller and I bribed him with it to get him into his car seat without a fight. I know what you are thinking; you will never bribe your child to get something done more quickly. Here is some advice: never say never.
As an employee of a child care company for almost five years, I have come across hundreds of different families. I have observed so many parents interacting with their children and I have carefully taken mental notes. Some of them made parenting seem like a breeze. I tried to determine what they were doing that made them so successful. More importantly, I had a running list of all of things that I would NEVER do when I became a parent.
I have only been a mother for eight months, and here is a short recap of the things I said I wasn’t going to do that I have already done…
A few years ago, I was teaching in a toddler classroom when a new toddler joined our class. As his mother was explaining some information to me, she mentioned that he is pretty attached to his pacifier. Then she went on to mention that when he naps, he actually uses three pacifiers. He likes one in his mouth and one in each hand. Seriously? Then, a few days ago, I was trying to put Grey to sleep. He kept taking his pacifier out of his mouth because he likes to hold it. I grabbed a second pacifier so he’d have one to hold and one in his mouth. Then I had a flashback to that little boy in my classroom. Well, I guess I can see now how three binkies can happen.
Another thing I felt really strongly about before having children was sleep training. I think it is extremely important for children to get enough sleep and for parents to be rested as well so that they can better care for their children. Ideally, I think it’s important for children to learn to put themselves to sleep without being rocked and to sleep through the night. Keep word: ideally. Unfortunately, Grey has gotten into a bad habit of falling asleep to his nighttime bottle while being rocked. I swear, I tried to break this habit with the cry-it-out thing. I learned that Grey is stubborn. He cried for almost three hours in his crib for several nights in a row before I gave in. He actually has more stamina than I do. If it takes me an extra ten minutes to rock the kid so that I don’t have to listen to three hours of crying, then so be it.
And on the topic of sleeping, Grey woke up at 4:00am today. I tried everything I could think of to get him back to sleep with no luck. After an hour, I gave in. And even though I SWORE I would never let my baby sleep in my bed, I enjoyed every moment of that extra hour that I got with Grey snoozing in my bed next to me.
It’s only been eight months and I’ve already done several things that I promised myself I wouldn’t do. Does that make me a bad parent? I don’t think so. One thing I know is that I’ve dismissed my mental list. I know that as a parent, I won’t win every fight, so I have decided to pick and choose my battles.