Posts tagged ‘Growth’

October 19, 2011

Parenting Means Not Giving Up

The other day, despite his protests, I knew Jacob needed a nap. He probably knew it too, but just didn’t want to believe it. I understand how he feels—I don’t really like napping either, unless I’m exhausted. There are too many fun things to do in a day. And especially if you’ve just learned a new trick like walking, lying down and resting seems, at first glance, like a waste of time.

But prudent mama that I am, I know that often when the morning nap goes out the window, the rest of the day goes with it. Somehow I possessed a strange calm, one I’m only beginning to get used to, one that I think might come from confidence in my role as a mother. Though Jacob was crying and rustling around in my arms, that calm allowed me to keep a just-firm-enough hold on him, rock him, and sing to him, as per our routine.

After four rounds of all five verses (that I know, at least) of “Amazing Grace,” he was asleep. I managed to put him down and he got a full nap in. A few weeks earlier, I might not have had the persistence to sing the whole song four times. A few months earlier, I know I wouldn’t have. I would have been frustrated that what I was doing wasn’t working and would have simply put him down, hoping he’d cry for just a few minutes and manage to get to sleep by himself.

It’s probably mostly a result of my getting more sleep now than I did in the earlier months with Jacob, but I am finding that I have more trust in myself these days. I know Jacob pretty well, and generally have a good sense of what he needs and how to offer it to him, even if he doesn’t think he agrees.

In the first half of his life, I took a lot of cues from the little guy. I figured he knew what he needed better than I did. And at that point, I’d never cared for a newborn before, and he was functioning on needs, not wants. Now, as the wants are filtering in amongst the needs, I have a different job as his mother. I need to use my judgment to determine what’s best for him, still incorporating whatever he can communicate to me, when it’s appropriate.

Sometimes that means doing what he doesn’t want to do. Sometimes that means I’m not going to be his favorite person on the planet. Sometimes I’m going to have to stand my ground. Sometimes it’s going to be sheer willpower concealing doubt that I’m totally botching something.

But that’s okay. Because, as my friend Cristina would say, I am the mother. God gave me to him and him to me for a reason. If my heart is always in the right place—and with God’s grace and Mary’s intercession it will be—I have hope that these moments will always end, as they did the other day, with a happy, healthy, and holy little boy resting peacefully in my arms.

P.S. Can someone please volunteer to read this post back to me when Jacob’s about fifteen?

October 10, 2011

The Early Bird Special

Looks like the little man wants to eat with the senior citizens.


Jacob and I fell victim to a “witching hour” . . . or three . . . almost every day last week. He’d wake up from his afternoon nap about 3:30 with his cranky pants on. Nothing I tried seemed to help. With a fresh diaper, plenty of toys, and a bucketful of snacks, he was still whiny like I’d never seen him before. Friday I snuggled with him for an hour, and he cried through most of it. At that point, I’d given in to desperation and turned on Netflix, so at least I had Miss Bennett and Mr. Darcy to keep me company.


Sunday afternoon, John and I put a lot of the pieces of the puzzle together and thought that maybe Jacob needs an earlier dinner. He’d been eating so many snacks in that late afternoon/early evening window that I was freaking out about how little he ate at dinner proper. When I thought about it, I realized breakfast and lunch are served immediately after he wakes up—either from the night or from a nap—so maybe the timing of his snack and dinner needed to be switched.


We tried it, and while he didn’t eat a whole lot of dinner (ironically he ate it for snack later), he did do something else.


He walked. By himself. A lot. (Video coming soon, we hope!)


Now it might have been that after a full five weeks of a few steps here or there, he was ready to show us what he could do.


It might have been that the Jets were heartbreakingly crumbling under the pressure of the Patriots, and he knew we needed some good news.


It might have been that Daddy was home and we finally had a good chunk of time, just the three of us, at home.


Or it might have been that there’s more magic in the early bird special than we not-yet-seniors realize. Maybe I need to start eating dinner at four o’clock, too.

October 5, 2011

Dear Jacob XIII

Dear Jacob,


I just weaned you, and I think you knew it. Tonight you nursed a little longer than you have lately and you let out just one cry a few minutes after I left your room. This was a really tough thing for me to do, even though your daddy and I both believe it’s the right thing for us.


My dear Jacob, a year ago I didn’t know what it meant to love you. That haziness was heavily influenced by extreme sleep deprivation, but the other part of it was simply lack of experience. Now, as I end almost two years of regulating my body to serve you—first while pregnant and then while nursing—I realize in a profound way what it means to be your mom. For your entire existence up until tonight, you have been physically linked to me, and I to you. Tonight the physical piece ends, but what we built in that rocking chair is marked on our hearts. I know it is on mine.


If you heard my voice waver during the third verse of “Amazing Grace” tonight, that’s because I was crying, both for what I’m losing and what I’m gaining. My dad says that the sign of a good manager is when those he or she manages can do the job independently. And that’s what you’re embarking on tonight, my dear, whether or not you know it. You’re not totally on your own, of course—and you never will be—but I think you know what I mean.


Somehow tonight reminded me of the last night of college, when my whole class stayed up all night to watch the sun rise over the parking garage (it’s classier than it sounds). After I went back to my dorm, knowing I’d only get a few hours’ sleep before commencement, I cried for just a few minutes. I knew that my time at school was complete, that I’d done what I’d come to do, and that exciting things lay ahead (like marrying your daddy). But still, something was ending, and it was okay to be sad about that. Oh, Jacob, don’t be surprised by how many hugs you get tomorrow.


Thank goodness for cell phones, email, and most of all, mommy friends who have offered encouragement to me today. These ladies you’ll know as your aunts have made tonight a little easier on me, and for that I am so grateful. I pray you’ll have such dear friends to help you through the tough transitions in your life, too. And you know your daddy and I will always be there for you. We love you so much.


Thank you for being our little boy and for making us into a family. Tonight we are all taking one giant step together, and with faith, hope, and love, I know we are only on to bigger and better things.


Oh, and more soymilk, but some things can’t be helped.


As always, my little boy, I write with all my heart,

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