Saturday, March 28, 2009

Worrying never gets you anywhere...

...but that doesn't seem to stop it from happening. I think that tends to be a parent's part time job, no matter how hard we try to stop it. I sometimes beat myself up when I screw up something (like accidentally leaving the car seat in my car the day Craig was supposed to pick Jacob up. Oops. No workout for me. :( ), but I know that a lot of that stuff happens because I have a million things on my mind every day...from the big stuff down to the minute details. And sometimes one will drown out the other. My whole life tends to revolve around timing things out...this much time since his last feeding...he needs his meds this long before the next feeding...he's been nursing on this side for this long...if we do this, this and this, it should time out just right for bedtime...etc. From making sure Jacob has enough clean clothes, food and medicine to hoping he's getting enough sleep, playtime and other experiences, there's a lot of stuff that flows through my brain in the average day...and that's not even getting into the rest of the stuff pertaining to the other elements of my life that flows through as well. I've tended to filter a lot out...things that I used to think about or do a lot are no longer at the forefront of my mind...hence the reason I hardly watch hockey anymore, haven't had a haircut since before Christmas, and haven't bought myself many new clothes since Jacob was born. I just don't have the time or the focus. I know eventually things will balance out, and that will be great. It may still be busy and I will still be preoccupied, but eventually this will become the norm and I will just deal.

In the meantime, I still have a million things that go through my mind and keep me wondering if we're doing everything we can to give Jacob a good life and the best start possible. He's generally happy so I think in many ways we're fine. My concerns tend to be in a couple different categories. First, I'm worried that I'm too structured and eventually that structure will be holding him back. For example, our living room has a handful of potentially breakable things sitting around...picture frames, candles, etc...and I hate the thought of having to move them, but I also don't want them broken. I'm stuck somewhere between doing my darndest to teach Jacob not to touch stuff, and being a realist and knowing he probably will anyway and knowing how mad I'd be if he broke something. I know I just need to let go, either of my stuff or my pleasantly decorated living room, just so I can let him have fun in the living room learning to crawl and walk. Same goes for eating. I know eventually he'll have to learn how to feed himself, and it will be a messy I'm dreading it. I hate stain removal. I did buy some neat full coverage bibs at IKEA, but I'm not sure even those will take care of the mess. I really should have gotten two sets of two so I could send a set to daycare! It's going to be a challenge for me to let go and let him learn.

My other issue is that I never think he's ready for stuff, when he's probably fully capable. I started him late on solids, and put off things like sippy cups and table food probably longer than I should have. In many cases I wonder how he would have been if we started things earlier...would he have picked it up earlier? Or would he have fumbled through for longer and still picked it up at the same time? We may never know. I hadn't rushed into the sippy cup because for the longest time he didn't even hold his own bottle...and really, he still rarely does when I give him one. He will do it at day care, though. That alone worries me a bit, that I'm an enabler...already letting him get away with not holding it, even though I know he can (but he doesn't always get it up high enough to keep the nipple full, and I don't want him sucking air and giving himself gas...ahhh, control issues.). But even once I knew he could hold it, I didn't rush to the sippy cup because I didn't feel like he needed to use one. But then I realized he was almost nine months old, which is plenty old enough to start working in that direction. Then he got constipated and needed to drink juice, and they always recommend against putting juice in bottles, so I was sort of kicking myself for not starting the sippy cup sooner. I tend to wonder about the timing of introducing new foods and new toys. I want things to be age-appropriate and do whatever I can to keep moving him along developmentally, but sometimes I wonder if I underestimate him. I don't read to him nearly as much as I'd like, mostly because his attention span doesn't seem very long when we sit down to do it. It seems like he doesn't get much out of it, despite what you read about how important reading is to language development. But then I sit and wonder if my lack of reading is the reason he's not babbling syllables yet. I mentioned in my post yesterday that I want to get a zoo membership this summer. There are times that I wonder, though, if he's ready for that. He doesn't seem to really fixate on much yet, so will he really see the animals and enjoy it? Or have we just not provided him with stuff worth fixating on, and given the opportunity to see something that cool, he'll just eat it up? Is there a problem with laziness/creativity/exhaustion, where we don't turn off the TV and think outside the box to provide him with the best stimulation possible?

It just seems like I second guess everything. I don't want to baby him as he gets older, but I don't want to rush him, either. It's probably a good thing I don't have extended exposure to parents of other kids his age, because I'd probably obsess even more comparing him to other kids...even though I know not all kids are the same. I don't want to be one of those crazy, high-pressure parents, but I also want him to excel in whatever he does. And I end up thinking about this stuff all the time. I try not to make myself nuts, but on the rough days I just end up making it rougher. Perhaps I've had too much worrying to do in the midst of his recent illnesses...that all of the sick time has set him back and now he's got to hurry up and catch up...and it all compounds because I'm already stressed about the illnesses themselves. But then I have a day like today, where other than one rough feeding period, he was awesome...and I just enjoy him so much that the worrying takes a backseat. And that's awesome. On days like today, it doesn't matter that the younger kids at daycare seem to move ahead of him on he was just my amazingly sweet little boy, and that was all that mattered.

Finding the balance is tough, and I'm sure it will continue on forever. I still remember when I told my parents that I wanted to get an internship with the Amerks when I was in college. Initially they said no, because the thought of me having a car and driving into downtown Rochester scared the crap out of them. Their little girl, not a great driver...just didn't seem wise. But eventually they relented and it turned out to be a major turning point of my life. Not only did I get some great and much-needed driving experience, but that internship led to my first job and introduced me to my future husband. So having been through an experience like that, it weighs on my mind how we will balance Jacob's world...from keeping our little boy within a world that's safe and age-appropriate, while also giving him the freedom to spread his wings and push himself a bit. The situations may change over the years, but the challenge will remain the same. Wish us luck!

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