NOT MEETING MILESTONES
I don’t know why this was such a big one for me. I wasn’t necessarily worried about a developmental delay or a diagnosis but I wanted to be one top of it and look into any early interventions needed. I can guarantee you I looked up every timeline and every “watch for these signs” articles to make sure that Cora was doing what she was supposed to be able to do in the time frame she was supposed to (sometimes I still do!). I spent so much time worrying about her milestones that I forgot that she was just a baby. There is a “typical” timeframe that kids should be doing certain things but the thing is the range has gotten so much bigger because kids do what they want when they want. That doesn’t mean turn your cheek to delays that you are worried about though! If something is really bothering you whether it be developmental, physical, emotional, etc- talk to your child’s doctor. I know I sound like an infomercial but I’m serious! The online articles are great but most of them immediately dive into “if your kid isn’t doing this at this age they have this disease or this developmental issue” and the truth is maybe they are just taking their time. To get that peace of mind its best just to send a message to your doctor. I could actually do an entire post of copied and pasted messages from my Sanford My Chart for you because I was 100% that mom that asked every question in the book, and even though I started all my messages with – “Hey sorry, me again, dumb question but…” I always got answers that I felt confident in and made me feel better.
NOT PLAYING WITH HER ENOUGH
I loved to get on the floor and interact with Cora when she was little. Making the weirdest facial expressions and noises to try get that smile out of her—but as a new and exhausted parent what I really wanted to do was just sit and watch. I enjoyed watching her navigate the room and often times would wonder how she was perceiving things around her, but I always had this feeling that when I would just sit and observe her I was being negligent because I wasn’t constantly interacting with her. I remember I would do my best to engage her for as long as I could before it seemed we both kind of lost interest. I texted my cousin, Brittany, and asked her if I was a shitty parent because sometimes I didn’t have the energy, or to be completely honest, the WANT to constantly be in my kid’s face with toys and expression. I asked if I just let her do her thing if she would not develop social skills or not learn how to interact with others. She reassured me that even though playing with your kid is important- it is also important for them to learn how to preoccupy themselves. As adults we aren’t wired to play pretend for long periods of time—and that’s okay! I love playing with my daughter, but my favorite is watching her play on her own. I watch her imagination grow every day and often times wonder what she is thinking when she’s off in her own world. We have a healthy balance for ourselves between independent play and playing together. For the record the times I took the opportunity to sit and watch didn’t cause any of the issues I was worried about.
WOULDN’T EAT MEAT
Nothing against vegans or vegetarians but we are a meat eating family. We eat everything but the horns and hoofs. For the longest time and sometimes to this day our kid would not eat meat. I literally had to roll small pieces of meat in mash potatoes like one would do when giving a dog a pill in a piece of cheese. She STILL won’t eat cheese pizza rolls but will pull all the “strawberries” (pepperonis) out of the pepperoni ones. I was so worried that she wasn’t getting the protein that she needed to grow or that she was going to start losing weight to the point where her doctor would think we were starving her. ** cue the irrational mindset** Turns out this is COMPLETELY NORMAL. A lot of kids don’t like the texture or depending on their age they may find it hard to chew. I was told to just keep trying different ways and eventually she would eat it. We tried literally EVERYTHING. Every kind of meat every which way. And we damn near accepted the fact that maybe vegans are born vegan and it is what it is. Then the dinosaur obsession started. I about shit my pantaloons when I saw dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets at Target. Even though we had to cut the nuggets into pieces and piece them back together as their original dinosaur shape so she could enjoy her prey she eventually gave in. At almost 3 years old her food variety in general lacks, more so because she’s just picky but if you are a parent going through this rough patch—keep offering different things but don’t break your back creating a 4 course meal with all the food groups in it. Sometimes all you need is some dino nugs and a little patience….and wine.
It never failed- whenever we would have company I was always worried that they would be annoyed with our baby crying. I would always make up excuses like “bad nap” or “overly tired” or “she’s just crabby today” even if it wasn’t true just to make people aware that she was going to inevitably cry. I didn’t want them to be bothered or to get annoyed with her. This was more so in the first few months as we were still learning what cries meant she was hungry, tired, wet, etc. Aside from the breastfeeding disaster you can read about in my previous post- we had no idea half the time why she was crying. We would run down the check list of B necessities- “Bottle-Butt-Burp” If she wasn’t hungry we would check her butt. If she wasn’t wet or poopy we would try burp her in case she had some build up- and when all else failed, “fussy babies get the swaddle.” Luckily swaddling usually did the trick. This is something I look back on now and wish I hadn’t worried as much about making excuses for her. She’s a baby for crying out loud (literally). That is how kids communicate. I promise you that no one is annoyed at your baby for crying. No one is annoyed at you because your baby is crying—and if they are—swaddle their asses. That will chill them out.
This was an honestly still is an obsession of mine. You can tell me I’m insane and deep down I know I’ve worried about it more than needed, but it won’t change how I feel about it. There we were, in bed, with a tiny bassinet next to us with a new human inside of it. My head on the pillow, Danny’s head on my head, both facing the bassinet, staring obsessively at the little chest go up and down. All night. There were nights that I would sleep with my hand on her chest just to make sure it was still moving. God forbid we ever enjoyed the fact that she slept all night without a fuss because the first thing that would run through our minds as we jolted up and damn near knock the bassinet over is “she suffocated in her sleep.” I won’t lie -sometimes, even at the age of 3 and in her own bedroom/bed, if she doesn’t wake up at her usual time with usual good morning phrases like “I shit” and “Mama come HEEEEREE” the thought crosses my mind for a split second that something is off. Even with the new studies that claim that SIDS may not be caused by environmental things I think this is something that all parents are going to stress out about and its completely normal.
We have been lucky enough not to have to deal with this as much as we thought we would (like we thought we would have to deal with tiny fingers in outlets more than we actually ever had to). We only had 1 scary incident where Cora happened to make her way over to a wicker basket we had blankets in on the floor and she took a big chunk out of it and started choking. We were not prepared for that one as we were in an odd mindset that choking only really happened with small toys and food. Not large baskets. Anyways, I was not even home when this incident occurred but when Danny called to tell me that I had a panic attack right there in the Walmart parking lot. My mind immediately went to “what if”. What if Danny wasn’t right there to take action? What if sometime in the future I turn my back and she’s choking and I don’t even notice? The thought of all the possibilities of something so easily done was enough to make me vomit— and throw out all the wicker baskets in our house. Danny bought us a Dechoker device that we thankfully have never had to use, but it has brought a lot of peace of mind to this household.
I saved the best for last because all of the above obsesses have since subsided making room for this one that consumes my current thoughts. Bruises and Daycare. My kid is a klutz. It’s a trait that I undoubtably passed down to her. This kid is FEARLESS and will climb on anything and everything and 99.9% of the time will fall off of it. She has bruises in places I didn’t think could get bruised. I always think that when I bring her to daycare and they see these battle scars they are going to automatically assume that we hit her. You read all of that correctly. I obsess about Cora’s scrapes and bruises because I wonder if people think we are the ones giving them to her. Am I the only one that thinks this way? It’s insane right?!??! I don’t know why I can’t shake it. I know we don’t lay hands on our kids. Daycare knows we don’t lay hands on our kid, in fact, I’m sure they see kids beat the hell out of themselves all the time-but for some reason I still feel the need to overly explain where each of her new dings came from. Cora fell off the bed introducing her first ever fat lip and I kid you not I about kept her home until the swelling and mark went away because I was THAT nervous I was going to be met by social services at pick up. You don’t have to tell me ridiculous. I know it’s ridiculous, but I didn’t choose the stress life, the stress life chose me.
I wanted to share these things with you because I want you to know these fears (or at least most of them) will subside! Your fears about certain circumstances, whatever they may be, will get better. At the time I was stressing about choking, suffocation, and all the delightful things I obsessed about – they were the most terrifying things in the world to me and as time goes by and I think back I realize I may have been a little extra about them. If you had something you used to stress about that you look back on now and laugh or something you currently stress about that you think you are the only one I’d love to hear them! Maybe this will find a mama who is going though similar stressors and help her understand that her worries are valid and there is a light at the end of the tunnel!
You’ve got this!