Sunday, September 24, 2006

Indecision, Part II, the End of Same

In other words, I seem to be over the indecision problem that was bugging me when I started this blog. How, you ask? Well, let me tell you. I got over it.

And by "it," I mean worrying about not knowing what the hell I'm doing.

It seems so obvious now. There I was, fretting about the fact that I didn't have a clue most of the time about how to approach any given situation and the solution was there all along: I just needed to embrace my inner Clueless Mom and let go of the need to feel decisive.

I've realized that the vast majority of parenting books are just, quite frankly, full of shit. The most egregious fault is the tendency make claims for solutions that Work Every Time. Ha! I've learned the hard way that any solution that works once will probably not work a second time.

Don't ask me why, maybe it's just that my kid is a fast learner. An example: BabyGirl couldn't get to sleep one night and didn't want to me to leave so, after we sang songs for awhile, I taught her to sing Bingle Bingle Little Star. Worked like a charm: she sang to herself for awhile (as I listened, smiling maternally, to the baby monitor in the next room) and then fell peacefully asleep. Has that nifty little technique ever worked again? Hell, no. We've had trouble getting her to sleep lately and when I try to teach her a song, she's all, I don't wanna learn a song, I want YOU to sing to me, Mommy.

Last night, I tried everything: letting her cry--and she cried and screamed until I thought she'd vomit. I sang. I mirrored what she was saying (per the Happiest Toddler On The Block book), murmuring No, you don't wanna go to sleep, you wanna stay awake, etc., which only seemed to get her hopes up that I'd let her stay up all night drinking coffee, eating chhocolate and watching cartoons, then brought on more unhappiness when I said no. I tried talking to her quietly, in a droning voice, about my dad and trains until I thought I'd bore her to sleep. No dice. Finally, I just wearily lay down next to her and she was asleep in a few minutes. When I got in my own bed, Hubby said, well, you seem to have a technique that works there and I had to scoff: technique? I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

I think I'm just going to have to ride out this latest growth spurt and at least try to get the kiddo to eat decently and get some exercise. She's generally a good sleeper, and it rarely takes more than an hour to go from the Time For Toothbrushing and Vitamins announcement to soft toddler snores, so I count myself lucky. (Well, sort of--I try to, but after months of her going to sleep like an angel a parent can get spoiled.) And the new Fall TV programs pile up in the TiFaux because we're too tired to watch them. C'est la vie de maman.

But when the book says, let her cry it out once or twice and it'll never happen again? Bullshit. Or if it says, mirroring your child's words will help them calm down? Again, bullshit: not every time. (And I've also discovered that if I use the simple language from the book ("No! You don't wanna! No fun!") my kid gets irritated; instead, I have to use adultspeak ("Yes, honey, I know you've been on your best behavior and now you're tired, but let's just go in here for a minute and sit down where it's cool." Seriously, that's pretty much the exact words I've used and it works. Usually. Sometimes. Go figure.)

I could re-name the blog Reconciled To Being An Idiot Mom, but that doesn't really capture the lesson I've learned here. It's more like, Not Believing The Advice Books Anymore Mom, which actually seems to be summarized nicely in Pissed-Off Mom, so I think I'll stick with the original blog name. Yay!


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