|"Stop kicking. |
Mommy's on the
In about two months, our baby is expected to join us out here where it is much harder to kick mommy’s bladder. It gives me a strange feeling to think about holding baby. The thought is a good one, full of wonder, yet it carries the kind of awe that is tinged with fear. A baby. We have a baby, and before long we will hold and feed and raise it.
I hope we do a good job. We have lots of excellent ideas about child-raising, but what if we forget them in the heat of the moment? I am going to record some of them here. That way, if anyone sees me doing something awful as a mother, you can send me a message with a link to this post. Or maybe you will have written a much better post of your own and can send that.
I want to remember to talk to you a lot. I don’t do it yet because I can’t make eye-contact with you.
Looking at the babies and little children around me, I’ve noticed that babies seem much more engaged with the world if their mothers are always pointing it out. They seem to learn English faster if people say things like, “Look, there’s the red car! Do you see the red car? It’s a red car!” A baby who knows English has alternatives to screaming.
I’ve also noticed that babies seem calmer and more relaxed if their mothers’ narration conveys a cheerful attitude toward life. “Uh oh! That’s OK,” I’ll say. “We just need to pick it up! Help Mommy pick up her toast.” You will probably always understand a little more than I think you do.
On the other hand, I’ll try not to be too obnoxious about it. Sometimes I’ll shut up and let you talk or just observe the world. I’ll try not to be like that lady at the book sale who chattered to her baby the entire time she was browsing—and told baby all about the ideological flaws in all the books. “Oh, this doesn’t look like a nice book! This book is about war, and we don’t like war. War is terrible. You wouldn’t like this book.”
I might tell you too much about Jane Austen, though.
I want to remember that you are capable of more than I think. As you grow, I want to consciously teach you how to behave well, be happy, and show respect for things and people instead of just waiting until you can speak and reason. It’s going to be a lot harder if I wait. Being a baby may make it natural for you to pull my hair, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t actively teach you not to.
You can learn respect by learning to obey “No, don’t touch,” and, “Gentle with the kitty.” That means I won’t completely child-proof my house. You can play with most of the stuff within your reach, but there will be a few things around to teach you respect. Those things will NOT be my china tea cups or anything so valuable that I’m not prepared to sacrifice it to the good of child-training.
I’ve seen parents who say, “Give that to Mama, please,” and who are able to gently retrieve an item without their baby fussing. I think this is because the baby is accustomed to obedience and is also treated with so much respect that he doesn’t feel threatened by his parents’ decision to refuse him the pleasure of eating the table ornament. Hopefully this theory stands the test of you.
|Let's not devolve into this, OK?|
(Image from HERE).
I know that my personality leads me to want to please everyone, and I want to make sure I don’t let my personality run away with me while I’m mothering you. I want to try to decide ahead of time what I will allow and what I won’t, so that I can provide firm boundaries without too many rules. When I say, “No,” I want it to mean something definitive. That way we won’t have to exhaust ourselves with needless negotiations and unpleasantness. Because I would probably give in. That wouldn’t work out well for either of us, in the long run.
I hope it’s OK if you don’t have Sophie, the teething giraffe. Apparently all the other babies do (I know this from facebook pictures).
(Apparently, everyone wants Sophie.)
I’m a little worried about what you will do at night. I read some books that talked about infant sleep, and they all contained cautionary anecdotes that indicate I’m going to ruin your life no matter what I do. Dr. Sears’ anecdote says that if I let you cry it out, you won’t trust me anymore, and because we will grow distant, I’ll start leaving you behind while I go on weekend and then week-long trips. Actually, I don’t think that will happen, because I can’t imagine pumping a week’s worth of breast milk.
The sleep people say that if I don’t let you cry it out so that you sleep through the night, you will develop ADD or ADHD or otherwise be miserable. The Dr. Ezzo stuff goes farther and says that you will turn into an obnoxious brat who will cause your father and me to divorce. Don’t worry, we won’t do that even if you are a brat.
Here’s my theory: I realize that when you cry at night, you are communicating with me. That’s a good thing. It doesn’t mean, however, that I can’t ever answer your communication with “No, dear, go to sleep.” Hopefully I can pick the right developmental stage to do this in.
There is one thing that I am not worried about at all. It’s an amazing thing that I can’t possibly mess up. We are going to take you to church to receive the washing of Holy Baptism. Through this Sacrament you will receive life. As the Small Catechism explains,
How can water do such great things?It is not the water indeed that does them, but the word of God which is in and with the water, and faith, which trusts such word of God in the water. For without the word of God the water is simple water and no baptism. But with the word of God it is a baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Ghost, as St. Paul says, Titus, chapter three: By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Savior, that, being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying.
This is why we can dare to be your parents. Even if we do forget our good resolutions and carefully formulated child-raising philosophies (and I guess we will, sometimes), we can turn to God’s grace and forgiveness. We can’t save you, but He can.
I'm linking up to Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday!