Monday, May 31, 2010

Imposing our Norms on our Children

It is interesting to me how we impose our norms (things we consider normal) onto our children.
The other day, at my mom's group, we were discussing how to install infant car seats and how the bar and the shade should never be up while in the car (see the note below for further explanation). One of the moms wondered how her baby would play with the toys that she hangs from the bar. Another mom worried about the sun getting into her baby's eyes.
I realized that neither of these concerns was really something to worry about. Babies are not going to get mad because the don't have a toy dangling over them. For one thing, they are still fascinated with the world. For another, you can just give them the toy instead of hanging it over them. As for the sun shining in their eyes, babies just close their eyes. It doesn't bother them as much as it bothers us.
My 9 month old loves to watch the ceiling fan. My two year old likes to dip his peanut butter sandwich in ketchup. My friend's first grader loves to play in the rain and get soaking wet. None of these things are appealing to me as an adult, although they probably were when I was young.
I figure that if the kid isn't complaining, the situation isn't bothering him. We (I) need to stop and consider: is the situation really bothering my child, or is it just bothering me?
Note about car seats: The carry bar on an infant car seat should always be down when in the car. Infant car seats are designed to rock towards the seat in a car crash. If the bar is up, it can hit the seat, stopping the rocking motion of the car seat and causing whiplash on the baby. As for the sunshade, if it is forward during a crash, the plastic ribs can shatter when the sunshade hits the seat (this actually doesn't concern me too much, I would think the fabric would keep the shattered ribs from flying). But the most important thing is to strap your child in correctly (which means tight!). I strongly suggest you go to www.seatcheck.org to find a child seat inspector.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Blessings and Frustrations

Nine months and two days ago, my daughter was born two months premature. I didn't have time to get excited about anticipating her arrival, and when she did arrive, I was not at all excited about it . . . I was scared.

I felt a little cheated by her early arrival. I was excited to see how big my tummy would get. I was looking forward to getting all the baby stuff out of the closet. I was excited about setting up the kids' room and decorating for the two of them (still not decorated). I was looking forward to getting my hair done the day before my scheduled c-section (a little vain, I know, but I was still looking forward to it!). But, mostly, I was looking forward to that excited anticipation of going to the hospital. Of introducing her to her big brother at the hospital. All the new baby moments one looks forward to. But I didn't get any of them.

So, that is why I was so excited about my nephew's impending birth. I was almost as excited about his birth as I was about my son's birth three years ago. He is, so far, the only cousin my children have, and I would have loved to be there to greet him.

My sister-in-law was in labor for about 14 hours, and I went to bed hoping to have a text any minute that the baby was born. My kids needed me a few times during the night (both being very congested, they would wake up coughing), and so I was not getting very restful sleep. Add to that, every time I did wake up, I was praying for my SIL, so it would take me a while to get back to sleep.

At 3:51 a.m., I got a text. I was finally in a sound sleep, but when I heard my phone buzz, I smiled and dragged my eyes open so I could read that my nephew had arrived.  I was sorely disappointed to find a text that only told me she was still in labor.

At 5:30 I was awoken by another text. This was from my brother-in-law saying that his son had arrived at 3:57 a.m. I was overjoyed, until I looked at the time stamp on the previous text: SIX MINUTES BEFORE HE WAS BORN!! I was peeved. Why in the world would someone wake me up to tell me nothing was happening and then not bother to take two seconds to tell me that he was finally born immediately after the informationless text?

In retrospect, I realize why I was so upset. I felt cheated. I felt deprived. I felt left out.

I felt cheated because I never got to be excited about my daughter's birth. She was born so early I hadn't worked up that excited anticipation that moms get about their impending labor. I was so stressed when she was born, I never really got to enjoy her birth.

I felt deprived of the excitement over my nephew's birth because I was awakened only to be told that nothing had happened, and wasn't told that he had actually been born while I was reading the pointless text.

I felt left out because I had to find out with the rest of the world that my nephew was here via mass text.

The unfortunate thing of it all is, I can't tell my family how hurt I was by not being included on my nephew's birth. I can't share my feelings of deprivation at my daughter's birth with my family when they are welcoming a new life. I am thrilled at my nephew's birth. I just wish I hadn't received the thoughtless text without an immediate follow-up.

It ended up being a great day.  My nephew was born on my birthday - who could ask for a better birthday present?  Even better news?  One of my closest friends had her daughter on my birthday as well! I am doubly blessed on my birthday by having a nephew and a "niece" born today!!