Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Reflections of a laid back Mama

I admit, in most areas, I'm extremely type A. I've always been high strung
In massage school, I hated getting massages because I couldn't relax during them. Having to lie still, trying to relax, it was impossible to not sit an think of all the better, more productive ways I could use my time. Mothering, however, is where I'm surprisingly relaxed and go with the flow.

9 months of a horribly colicky baby didn't phase me. Ok, the car screaming got to me. But not enough to keep me from wanting another before the colic had ended. Breastfeeding challenges happened, and were dealt with. I didn't fret over them or stop breastfeeding, I went with it and waited for things to work themselves out. A lot of nights with my oldest were spent walking her in the sling singing an endless loop of "Jesus Loves Me". I just figured that's what I signed up for when I decided to have a baby and went with it. If Anna-Lee had a cold or cough, we went to the chiropractor and waited it out. I don't think I called the doctor's office once with her except when she got a sinus infection at 10 months.

When Reese was born, I thought I'd need more routine and structure, since we had none. But it kept pretty much the same. Transitioning from one to two was easy for me. It through me for a loop when, at 15 months old, Reese put herself on an early bedtime schedule. Its still a struggle since the rest of us are night owls! But it was still a go with the slow sort of thing.

This year, my laid back approach to parenting has been thrown test after test. I have had some awful nursing struggles, some that made me understand how easy it is for Similac and Enfamil to convince struggling mothers that their products are just as good as breastmilk. I had postpartum anxiety that caused a lot of issues. Funny that something I'm so laid back about leaves me with an anxiety disorder, eh? Then, Joeygirl broke her leg when I was alone with the kids at the park during a high anxiety day. Even then, I simply threw her on my back, walked home, and loaded the kids up to go to the ER (I thought she'd simply hurt her ankle). While she was still in her cast I had to call poison control when she somehow found my bottle of imitrex missing 2 pills (no pills were missing, I forgot I'd taken some on vacation ).

Tonight I almost went high strung. Anna-Lee, who is five, was in bed. Her and Joeygirl go to bed together each night and talk until they crash. Tonight they were also playing around. My husband and I often sleep in our jeans for warmth. Especially me now that it's cold. I must've had change in my pocket because Anna-Lee comes screaming down the hallway that she has a quarter stuck in her throat.

I turned her over, patting her back as hard as I could. She was coughing and screaming. I swept my finger in her mouth to see if I could get it. Nothing. Tried the Heimlich. Nothing. She's still screaming, coughing, gasping, but it seemed like breathing was getting difficult. I couldn't tell if it was her being scared or that she was starting to choke. I grabbed my phone and dialed 911. As they were paging the squad, she coughs up the quarter. I stop them from sending the ambulance and lose it.

I'm shaking, crying...and hugging her like crazy. 15 minutes later she was getting sent back to bed. And as I sit and am readying myself for sleep, I'm so grateful she's ok. Seeing your own mortality is scary; seeing even an ever so brief glimpse of your child's mortality is downright terrifying. And I'm also thankful God has blessed me with such an out of character laid back approach to parenting. I know how high strung me is in an emergency. I freak out and freeze. Anxiety and fear immobilize me and I turn into a blubbering fool. Imagine if I did that when I was alone and faced with a child emergency. Being a laid back mom has allowed me to see my job as a parent with a clear head. Its allowed me to find great joy in the good parts, and tool with the punches in the bad times in a way I haven't been able to do with anything else.

Not that I don't get frustrated or lose my cool. I do. But far less than with anything else. We're all going to worry about our kids. Its what mothers do. But I wish I could tell moms to relax. Its not rocket science. Without medical need, how many wet or dirty diapers your baby has, how often they nurse, or how regimented their schedules are doesn't matter. Babies eat when hungry or thirsty. They sleep when tired, and don't sleep when overly tired. There's nothing wrong with helping them sleep better...but some kids are awful sleepers. And its ok. They'll work it out in time. If you're freaking and stressing it doesn't help you or them. A relaxed mama makes it so much easier for both of you.

So breathe. Its ok if you're not perfect. None of us are. And its okay to have a baby that's up a million times a night, who nurses more than what textbooks say they should...even if this is your baby, they're still a "good" baby (I hate when people ask if L is a good baby, by the way. WTF is a bad baby?!?). Relax. Take a deep breath. Do some yoga, read the book of your choice, light a candle, say a prayer, maybe down a shot. Whatever works
Just know you'll be ok. And don't forget to remember to slow down. If you're so tightly wound its too easy to miss all the awesome things that kids bring to your life everyday.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My sweet Joeygirl. This was taken last fall. I was pregnant and we were with a friend downtown playing. This picture just captures her goofy wonderful side. Reese means enthusiastic. We chose the right name. Next kid will be Serenity or Tranquility or something like that. She lives with passion and vibrancy.