Well, here it is the middle of the night and once again I cannot sleep. Despite being stuffed full of vicodin. What’s up? Anxiety! Since the accident I have been having a hard time with anxiety. My mind just races, I feel the need to be awake and listening for the baby and most of all I fear I’m letting something really important slide. I don’t know what the really important thing is, but it’s sliding and shall surely burn my biscuits directly. This is not a fun place to be right now.
Speaking of no fun, my home has become a bit of a battlefield. I have made no secret of the fact that infertility almost claimed my marriage. We came very close to calling it quits. But, with infertility, we had a common enemy. We were fighting together, and while it was hard, it ultimately brought us closer. Parenting is basically the opposite of that. At least it is for us. Now, instead of a common enemy, we have a common interest. For the most part we agree on the basics concerning the care and life goals for Baby G. But, the devil is in the details I’m afraid…
See, I’m pretty much of the belief that letting kids explore and learn and play is the best way to teach them confidence and curiosity and a love of learning. I’m kind of a free-range, attachment mama type. I basically let Graham tell me how much hands on interaction he needs, and otherwise I keep an eye out, but I don’t hover. If he cries, I comfort him. If he points and grunts at something, I tell him about it (and when appropriate, let him handle it). If he brings me a book, I read it to him. If he doesn’t bring me a book, sometimes I just read out loud, anyway, and see if he wants to come over and listen. If he toddles down the hall to his room… well, sometimes I just let him. I’ll keep an ear out and mozy down to check in on him a few (read 2-5) minutes later, if he hasn’t already come back. If he sits in his tent with a toy, I let him. Even if it means I can’t see him for a bit. He is in the same room with me, after all. I kind of think this lets him know that it’s OK to be independent. It’s OK to be away from mama for a bit. And, I also let the babies work out their own disagreements (to an extent). Because, I think it helps them develop social and problem solving skills.
G is kind of the opposite of that. He is a hoverer. That man has perfected the art of hovering. He feels the need to constantly engage/interact/check-on/follow the baby. Even when said baby is perfectly content, doing his own thing. G thinks the baby gates should always be up, so Graham can’t toddle down the hall into his room (or the bathroom!). G is of the opinion that if we can’t physically see the baby, we need to fix it. He also is big on holding his hands over furniture edges as Mr. G walks (yes! walks!) by them. And, it’s not out of the ordinary for him to do things like clear a toy path where-ever Graham happens to be walking and/or pick up tiny crumbs off of the carpet and analyze them for choking hazards. Additionally, he has been known to pitch small parts to the bigger kids toys (as well as move their primary toy bins to the basement) because they might be choking hazards. Because everything is a choking hazard. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. He also feels the need to intervene in every minor skirmish betwixt the toddler duo, that he sees.
Opposites. That’s us. At the end of the day, we have the same goal. We want a happy, healthy, well-adjusted kid who becomes a successful, happy, healthy, well-adjusted adult. We want to know that we did everything we could to give him the best possible start in life.
And, that would be where the fighting begins… our parenting philosophies are so different and our goals are exactly the same. So, nightly there is disapproval expressed at how I’ve cared for the baby throughout the day. (FYI… diaper rash can totally be related to teething. I don’t care what anyone says. I change my baby very often, ya’ll know my feelings on diapers, and when (only when) he’s about to get teeth, he gets diaper rash for a day or two. Which is exhibit A in the “Minta is a bad mommy” prosecution case.) Consequently, nightly, there is tongue clucking at how the hovering is going to turn my baby into a co-dependant pansy-boy. Vicious circle.
Except, you see, I lose. Because at the end of the day, daddy has never been driving when someone else ran a red light and nearly killed us all. Which means “daddy has never endangered the baby’s life.” While of course, I could argue that mommy hasn’t either (please note: was smashed by irresponsible nitwit who ran a red light!!!!), I can’t. Because I feel impossibly guilty over the accident. I feel like I should have seen it coming, I should have known. I should have stopped it. I know I can’t go back and I know replaying it in my head over and over again looking for the magically sign that I missed won’t do any good. But, it would seem we’re both holding me responsible for the accident from which Baby G came out without so much as a red mark, but which has left a deep wound on my credibility as a parent.