Wednesday, February 01, 2006


I'm so tired of this particular bit of wisdom, from none other than Dr. Spock and his heirs: trust your instincts--you'll know what to do. Truth is, a lot of the time I have no idea what to do. How long to I let her cry in her crib before I rush in there to provide comfort? I've rushed in and found a sleepy-but-now-increasingly-alert child who probably would have gone back to sleep in a minute or two but will now be awake for hours. I can hear the difference between a frantic, something-is-terribly-wrong cry and a sleepy, had-a-bad-dream-but-dozing-off-again cry. Most of the time, that is, because there's a continuum of cries between those two types, not all of which can be neatly classified by a half-asleep parent in the next room.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg: there are endless decisions that we full-time caretakers make every day and sometimes there's a sort of decisional gridlock that sets in and every single choice takes on a sense of huge import. Sometimes I just send up a quick, silent prayer* and go unload the dishwasher; other times, it's just more of the endless improvisation that makes up so much of my day.

And again, I have to point out: I have an easygoing kid. How do parents look after the colicky baby, or "Spririted Child" without going nuts? I wonder.

*I have two prayers that I rely on: the Prayer of the Pissed-Off Mom, which is "God, give me patience, RIGHT NOW." And, one that an AA friend told me about, the Short Form Serenity Prayer, which is "Fuck It."


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