That’s what everyone says. That it gets easier. That there are key times when things start to get easier. The first is 6 weeks, then 8 weeks, then 3 months, then 6 months. It goes on and on. I began to call these points the Magical Fairy, the Magical 6 week Fairy.
The fairy didn’t visit.
That’s not to say things aren’t different from when Sidekick was first born. Of course it is, but I wouldn’t say it’s easier, I would say that I and Hubby have adapted, have learnt to cope. That our vision of what parenthood would be like has changed.
As I’ve said before, parenting/baby books lie! Or at least they don’t tell the whole truth. Or perhaps they are talking about an ideal baby.
Sidekick is my ideal baby but she’s hard work! She is not the baby that the parenting books discuss.
Sidekick still does not have a defined nap or feed schedule. So that makes life a bit harder, we can’t really plan for ‘things’ as I don’t know when she will be awake. In the day she still feeds every two hours. She can go longer, she doesn’t like to and she makes this known.
I still don’t do much in terms of going places with Sidekick. We are lucky that we live by a lot of open space so we spend our days playing at home and then having walks around where we live. I do worry that she is missing out.
She doesn’t like sleep. She fights it constantly. No it’s not a case that I am keeping her up too long, that I’m missing the signs of tiredness (I am a hawk on these and I clock watch). She simply does not like to sleep. If I let her she’d stay awake for hours getting more and more grouchy. She is not one of these babies that will drift off to sleep, she has to be ‘helped’ to get to sleep (rocking, bouncing, walking).
Now you’ll probably at this point say, that’s because you haven’t taught her to self soothe. Yeah, I don’t actually believe you can ‘teach’ self soothing. Having read into it and how the brain develops, it’s a cognitive development that will occur in its own time and every brain is different. When you teach self soothing you are teaching abandonment. You can read about it here and here. Now don’t get me wrong I do give Sidekick opportunities to self soothe, we’ve had some success but only at night. So for now we are where we are, but it’s hard.
I guess some might say, I have chosen this path so stop moaning. They’re right, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed by it, just like anyone.
I see other babies who just go to sleep no matter where they are, I even saw some go to sleep during a Bounce and Rhyme session, I couldn’t help but be a little envious.
Hubby and I still go to bed when she does, yeap we are tucked up and heading off to sleepy land by seven most nights. Why? Our Sidekick is a kicker, Slayer in training (sorry…not sorry, I love Buffy) and we are lucky if she is calm for 3 hours. So we get sleep when we can. Its hard.
I worry about the future, I wonder what we’ll do if Sidekick hasn’t got better at daytime sleeping by the time I return to work. I know a nursery or a childminder won’t do what we do to get a daytime nap. Sidekick will either be left not to nap or left crying. The thought of her been left as she cries makes me feel sick. There is so much growing science showing why a baby or toddler been left to cry (I’m talking prolonged crying here not just a minute) is so bad for their development. This book is really good at explaining the growing brain and how we as parents can affect it and what crying does to the body.
It’s all okay though because as Sidekick grows I grow as a mum. I’m coping better with things. I’ve come to accept that my experience of early motherhood isn’t like a lot of other peoples. Yes, sometimes that makes me sad, but less and less now because my Sidekick is developing beautifully. She makes me laugh every day, she is happy with how we spend our days.
So what is my point? Well I guess what I am saying that whilst for some things get easier for others it doesn’t, what does happen is that you learn to adapt and you change how you think motherhood is going to be. You learn that just because your baby isn’t following the book does not mean you are a bad mother, that you are doing it wrong.
So give yourself a break, you are doing an amazing job, you are doing what your baby needs you to do.