This weekend was really tough. Ramona was just not herself on Saturday, she spent the whole day crying loudly at me. She had a bit of a cold and was also working on some molars. It was a long and tiresome day for us all.
Yesterday was a lot better, Ramona was back to her happy self. But, in a way, the day was harder. She spent a lot of time doing things she shouldn't do. Touching the tv, climbing on EVERYTHING, throwing food, getting into the dog's water. My dad says we named her wrong. Instead of Ramona Maple, we should have named her Ramona Monkey.
I worry that I'm not teaching her properly. I'm worried that people will think I don't care enough to discipline her. I hear from my pediatriatian that I tell her NO too much, I hear from friends that I need to put her in a time out, babycenter.com says I need to place her on a bench and offer choices. Other people say she needs a swat and that my pediatrician is an idiot.
What the hell? She's a baby! She needs a hug, a pat on the back, and a distraction. Right??? Right?
But I dislike permissive parenting. I did when I taught first grade, anyway.
I am writing this because my heart is hurting. I feel anger at myself for being disloyal to Ramona. The avalanche of worry began, and it's still coming. I first began to doubt my parenting and it quickly became a doubt of Ramona.
Why is she so wild? Why doesn't she listen to me? Is she behind in cognitive and language development because she can't understand a no or a time out. Are other people's babies better than mine? Are other mothers better than I am?
The truth is that we parents are all experts. Of our own children. In the space and time that we inhabit, we have found some success. When we hear some poor dolt whining for an answer, we deliver it, probably along with a little bit of exaggeration and forgetfulness. I am guilty of it too. Parenting is not in itself hard. It's hard because of babycenter.com, it's hard because of "norming charts" and parenting contemporaries who have "been there and done that".
My heart says not to worry. Everything changes, usually on its own. My wisdom from teaching other people's children tells me that children will blossom in their own time, in their own beautiful expression of themselves. My practice reminds me to be gentle with myself. To be gentle with my child.
Why do I still feel like this?