with a phrase like “I’ve noticed something about parenting,” you seasoned parents out there would probably roll your eyes and mutter about how eight weeks has sure made me quite the expert and why don’t we all wait a few years until potty training and then see what I “notice” about parenting, and probably I would chuckle along with you at my own expense. I know exactly how little authority I have on anything these days.
But I have noticed something, and it is this: for every ten folks who stop by to visit the little one and say sweet things about her curls and her rolls and her smile, there is one who turns to me and launches into a barrage of questions. Now, I don’t mind answering questions, I really don’t, but with these folks it’s clear that the questioner stands staunchly on one side of the fence or the other and that there is, of course, a right answer.
This feels uncomfortably like I’m being interviewed, as though I’m being asked to prove my qualifications for raising my daughter. I find this sort of amusing because I’ve never felt less qualified for anything in my life.
The questions tend to run along the lines of breast vs. bottle, thumb vs. pacifier, cloth vs. disposable (or, as we happily discovered, flushable), crib vs. co-sleeping, to sling or not to sling, etc. When I put her down, do I let her fuss until she falls asleep, or do I trip over myself to run in and pick her up? Do I feed her whenever she’s hungry, or do I stick to a schedule? (One look at those dimples and rolls and you’ll know exactly where I stand on that.)
Some of these decisions we’ve made with prayer and careful consideration and study. Some of them, we’ve stumbled upon in a curious mix of accident and intuition, while other choices we’ve just made because, well, they needed to be made. Some of them simply didn’t seem as though they could be any other way.
I am stubbornly determined to enjoy these first months with my daughter and in those first few weeks I worried from time to time that I wasn’t choosing what was best for her but what satisfied me instead. I worried about this until I realized that enjoying these first months with her is precisely the right thing for her and lucky me that it is so satisfying. Holding her close, responding to her cries – these are all ways of telling her that I love her, that I am glad she is here. As she grows older, I’ll simply find different ways of telling her the same thing.