My Love of the Inconvenient
This week my little girl has been sick. A chesty cough and a cold. Its been tough all round, both physically and emotionally. I found myself praying all week “please let me stay healthy for her, please let her chest clear, please let her have a good sleep, please let her phlegm come out”. Repeat.
This mantra was followed by my other more positive approach. “I am so grateful for my health and well-being. I am so grateful for her beautiful clear airways, love and gratitude for her beautifully clear chest and lungs. etc etc.
Gratitude. Its funny how grateful I am for the basic things. An hour of sleep, a friend bringing me food, my baby coughing up phlegm. I find that mostly I am grateful that I am at home and able to focus fully on her. At times I think about what I would do and how I would cope if I had to go back to work. Frankly I wouldn’t. Cope, that is. Its fair to say I have been a very hands on parent. So many people find my methods insane or more commonly, ‘inconvenient’, but I just find it natural and necessary. I co-sleep, I breast feed on demand, I held my baby in arms until she could crawl, I wore her all day and for her naps except for our tummy time each day. She began crawling at 6 months so now I find I have my hands free more while she plays. I bathe with her, I attend to her cries immediately, we practice EC and I pull over and comfort her if she screams in the car. Rod for my own back? I dont think so. Its true I am blessed with the luck to stay home. Its true that Im not a single parent, although I have no family support and my husband is away every week. I am blessed that when he is home, he supports my methods.
As I said, my baby is sick, so this week Ive done very little, but Ive held her close all day, Ive slept with her on my body, skin to skin, Ive gone to bed with her at 7pm and instead of getting back up when she falls asleep Ive stayed with her. Its easy when the parents are on the same page and support each other. The past 2 nights my husband has brought me dinner in bed on a tray, pre cut-up, and done the dishes. In effect, he looked after me so I could look after her. Isn’t that – ideally – how its supposed to work? I suppose I could’ve dosed her up on baby panadol and left her to sleep on her own so I could do, I dont know, whatever. Or I could’ve attended to her as she cried out, but call me crazy, she is sick and I want her to know that I am there for her, right by her side. Well actually, she is usually on top of me, but you know what I mean.
It bothers me when people point out the ‘inconvenience’ of how I parent. I didn’t have a baby so I could keep my life all about me. I figure its limited, this special time together. That as her cup is filled each day she will know dedication, compassion and how to give while feeling ‘full’ enough to be independent and self-assured. Well, there are scientific studies that agree. There certainly are a whole lot of people who are quick to tell me that I am raising a spoilt, dependent child. I disagree and suspect that by looking around this world at all the people trying to fill the ’emptiness’ inside with lovers, sex, gadgets, drugs, toys, things, that there are a lot of empty cups from days gone by on an endless search. Frankly, I would rather do it this way and be wrong, than the ‘normal’ way and be wrong. I think I (and she) have less to lose this way. For me the choice is easy and while I dont get much alone time until the evening (when she is well) I keep in mind how quickly this time will pass and how a couple of years investing in her heart now may well set her up for 80 years of confident, compassionate living, and that she may do the same for her baby. Its my choice to do this, Its not a burden but my natural response.
As she lays sprawled across my lap, head back, mouth open, one chubby little foot dangling off my calf the other pressed against my thigh, toes twitching, I am grateful for the trust she has in me, that I am with her as she dreams, that I can caress her, kiss her eyelids and stare endlessly at her perfect face. I guess its how you look at it. Some may think, “I used to be in an important job now all I do is wipe snot off her nose”. I prefer to think, “I am helping her breath, I am the most important person in the world (to her) and I am so lucky.”
This morning she woke with a blocked nose and couldn’t feed. My husband ran the bath for us and steamed up the room. As we lay in the bath and I cleared her nose with my hands, she ate contently. Next thing I knew she had done a poo in the bath and it was spreading fast! My husband was very pleased that he hadnt joined us and I just laughed…we dont have enough hot water to run another bath and my baby needs to breath and eat! So there we sat. In a poo bath. Happy as a pig in….well, you get the idea.