Two Steps Forward

This occurred several weeks, perhaps a month ago, but I found this and felt that I should at least post it.. since I went thru the effort at o’dark thirty in the morning to write it.

My daughter for the first time, rolled over and hugged her tigger last night. May not seem like a big deal, but it is to me.

You see, she slept better the first three months of her life than she does now. She is a sensitive little girl who in her sleep seeks out mommy to cuddle her and reassure her throughout the night. Often this involves nursing too. This rolling around and seeking mommy occurs perhaps 6-10 times a night. She is not totally awake, mind you. But I am. She has taken to sleep talking, sleep eating, and sleep crawling so that we have to push a pillow up at the top of the bed so she doesn’t bang her head in the wall. Cosleeping has been a challenge, but the hubby and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What happened tonight though, means progress. She rolled over, like she usually does, and thwacked me in the face and threw her leg onto my stomach. I was awake at that point. She made her fussy noise like she was to wake up again. I put my finger in her palm so she could hold on to it like usual and is assured I am still there. Well, this time she pushed my hand away and rolled over and cuddled with her tigger.

I was shocked really. Then a little sad. This, of course, ended, when she rolled over with tigger, thwacked me in the face with her other arm and then planted her leg back on my tummy. Yep, mom was still there. She was satisfied and rolled back over and cuddled with her tigger.

She needs me, but is taking her first steps, er…. movements?, toward feeling okay without moms help. Moments like these that I feel good about how I am raising her, and that even though we are tired we are doing right by listening to her needs and not thrusting our wants and desires for her to conform to what we need (or what society thinks we should be doing, i.e. Cosleeping vs. NOT). So, this is a little step but I am excited where this little girl is headed. What will she do next? This is an exciting adventure, even at three o’clock in the morning.

Mommy Support Groups many of you mommies have attended Mom and Me support groups in your area? What do you do for resources when you have reached you wits end?  How do you get out of the rut you might be in and reach out to other moms?

In our area there are a lot of different support groups. This is great, but I am finding I have to shop around a bit to find the right place for Sunshine and I. Why?  Cause isn’t a support group, like a support group, like a support group?  I am finding that this is not so.  I thought most groups were a lot alike, but I am wrong. (Damn. I hate admitting that…heh).

I was hoping, after giving birth, that I could create and attend a support group for moms with mental illnesses.  (These are mental illnesses prior to having a baby, not that pregnancy always induces mental illness but I expect many moms feel more eccentric after having a kid. I know I do.) I found that the agency for mental health support groups that I used to attend, does not allow kids.  Well that screws me over. I have to take her with me.  So, what support groups are there for moms with mental illnesses where you can take your babies? Surprise. There are none.

I have attended public Library reading groups. I have really enjoyed these groups. Mostly because I have connected with some local moms. One, a super nice gal who is much younger than me but with a cute little boy two months younger than Sunshine. You’d think most library’s would be the same.  One library is not like the others… similar programs, similar ideas. Some sing songs, some play with toys, and only a few actually get books out and have you practice reading to your kids.  (Surprising, I know!). In my pursuit to do as many activities that get us out every day of the week and are free, this would be a top place to go.
MOPS groups logo

I have attended two MOPS meetings , (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers). I realized soon after the first time, that MOPS is religiously based.  Now, I don’t mind praying before and after the meetings. I don’t mind the messages and the speakers having religious ideas and Bible verses throughout.  I have really enjoyed the speakers.  The ladies in the groups, though.  Yeah. Not so much.

They are nice but I feel like 1) They were trying to get me to join their church 2)Once they found out I have my own church I was ostracized and not really spoken to for the rest of the time because I don’t have that in common with them. All these ladies have done is talk about their Bible studies and what they learn… and thus I am not included.  I thought this was supposed to be a support group for MOMS??!!! Obviously, it is for only those moms that attend the same church. I am thinking about trying a different MOPS in the area to see if the mothers attending are different, or if it is a running theme for MOPS.

I have attended a support group for moms through a local hospital. They have the group for 0-6 month babies, and then a group for the 6-12 month babies.  I enjoyed the group and made some connections with the ladies there.  I finally have a person who can teach me how to knit hats!! We are all going to lunch after the meeting next week. It is a nice group of ladies.  However, the leader of this group, a matronly woman who works for the hospital, has some very clear ideas about what us moms should do for behavior modifications, sleeping, and so on.  In fact, because I co-sleep with our daughter, because we don’t like to use the word “No” but explain why we don’t do certain things (i.e. cause that hurts, cause its dangerous, cause your friends won’t like being smacked) the leader for this group suggested I would be more “at-home” with the moms groups in the big city nearby because they might do some of those things (Attachment Parent, that is).

I have heard about some of the Attachment Parenting groups in the

Parent Magazine
Parent Magazine Survey

area, and one I can’t go to due to a evening conflict, the other I was warned about.  Supposedly, this other attachment parenting group happen to be extremists. Some moms have felt they HAVE to do everything the AP way, whereas most AP groups talk about doing what you can. So, I have a bad back due to accidents and a jump off a 40 foot cliff, so I can’t carry Sunshine in a sling 24/7. Some AP groups would say do what you can, this one, I guess says if you really want to do it the right way you have to carry them in a sling 24/7. I took this survey from Parenting Magazine and found I was a 7/8 average. So, where does a mom like me go?

Where is the common courtesy for people with differences??? Its like you are either one or the other, black or white, no gray in the middle.   No acceptance, no support. I admit I have met some moms and made connections with those I have things in common with, or just plain nice people. I am super happy with this. So I don’t feel a big need to listen to unsolicited advice, or even solicited. I will make my own damn decisions based on what works for my kid.

Have any of you moms out there had similar experiences?  What have you done and is it easier to just take everything with a grain of salt? Just go to a group to meet other moms that you may have things in common with?  Would love to hear your thoughts and if I am not alone in the support group finding dilemma.

What I’ve Learned

… thus far.

I know this list could go on and on and on…. but I don’t have enough brain power in my sleepless-induced, zombie-like brain to remember to write them down as I go. So, I will tell you what I can pull from this worm hole, warp zoned mind… what I have learned in the almost 10 months since we have had our little girl. I have picked up,  realized, or stumbled upon these musings from my daughter, our pets, my husband, and momma friends. The learning curve is quick, and its amazing what I have actually learned during these short months.

I’m sure when she has reached a year, this list will be tripled.

  • There is no perfect way to parent. Each kid is unique. While I find Attachment Parenting and Conscious parenting tacks helpful, one way of parenting most likely won’t work with Sunshine. She needs all the options on the table!!
  • If she can find it, it will go in her mouth. (Hide EVERYTHING!!!)
  • If you hide EVERYTHING, she thinks it’s a game and will go find it.
  • Sleep. There is no sleep. Only Zoul, er Sunshine. And unless you are the key master, you are royally screwed!!! Mother puss bucket!!!!
  • What to dress her in for the day? Her birthday suit. Cause unless you want loads of laundry to do after each time she eats, and fight the stains that develop from what she wears on her clothes, rather than eats…. then the birthday suit is your best bet.
  • Second option. Just let the stains set, and you have a new fashion statement!
  • The dog and cat serve as just another distraction at meal times. If you are really smart, you will have the animals come sit with you, just out of arms reach of Sunshine, and then you at least have her facing the right direction to feed her. Otherwise, you will see what she is wearing from option #5.
  • I have never spoken to so many random people who I don’t know, about parenting techniques. Much advice is unsolicited and never considered. Once in a while, I get some good ideas.
  • I have never counted on other momma friends like I do now. They are who I can call and just vent to try to get ideas of what to do next. When in sleepless-induced zombie-like states, I need to do this more often. If I don’t get enough sleep, then I am not able to logically work through problems or issues to figure out solutions. Momma Friends rock!!!
  • Dog and cat. Again. They are learning to run and hide when Sunshine enters the room. Or at least go to their safe places. Perhaps I should try this some time so that my husband can actually take care of Sunshine for a bit and I can get some alone time to catch up on reading, actually writing my blog, or heaven forbid…. Sleep!
  • Yes, my kid loves books. Yes, she has learned to turn the pages from right to left, looking at the pages in the correct order. No, my kid can’t read (duh, a little early folks). Yes, all books seem to taste good to her and she has developed a taste for my husbands Stephen King books. It’s awesome that we are already developing a kid who loves books, but I have to constantly keep her from tearing them apart!!!
  • The mornings are my favorite time of day. She wakes up and pounces on us… with a huge grin on her face. So excited to start the day!!
  • Evenings, after getting her down for the night are becoming a fast second. I can be quiet, lay next to her and read my own book. These books tend to not have pictures, use more than one word syllables, and are longer than 10 pages. While I like Sunshine’s books, then can get pretty tedious.
  • My kid is speaking in tongues. No really. She isn’t possessed, but just licks and slobbers and googles and giggles and makes these funny noises with her tongue. Hilarious! Who knew life could be this silly? Laughing has become highlights of the day.
  • If she doesn’t want it in her mouth, you won’t get it in there. Period. This goes for medications, food, and fingers. If you want to try to get something in there, say for instance … teething gel? Have a family member hang her upside down. As she giggles you have perfect access to said toofers and gums and can get that damn stuff in there. This technique, however, doesn’t work with medicine or food. If you figure out a way to get those in, let me know.
  • I have become a human teething ring. I have the bruises to show it. (Damn! Ouch! That hurts!)
  • If my daughter learns to be more independent later by my sitting with her and allowing her to cling to me now, I am all for it! I already see her letting go more often and trying things on her own without my help, although she still has to have me nearby. I can already see that progress! Awesome!!
  • The most important: There are no perfect parents, only perfect intentions.

I am sure this list could go on and on…. however, I lack the brain power to produce much more. I imagine when she is a year old, I will produce a more thorough list. Otherwise, have an awesome Thursday and don’t forget to giggle! And watch the Big Bang Theory. Totally cracks me up. Bazinga!!!