If I’m your houseguest, I’m going try your toiletries. Not ones that look expensive or are put away or would be unhygienic to share, but your shower contents? Let’s just say I’m going to smell awfully familiar.
So, I felt like we’d really been killing it in the religious ed department because after “Mama” and “Papa,” the next name Pip was able to say was Jesus (“Ch-Ch”). These days Pip’s a Jesus-spotting machine, detecting him alike in sappy picture books and crucifixes. I was feeling pretty smug. BEST CATHOLIC MOTHER EVER, etc.
That is, until Pip spotted the Ron Swanson shirt I got J for our anniversary.
Yep, apparently Ron Swanson is also Ch-Ch.
I fear we have a long ways yet to go.
Nora Ephron, “Parenting in Three Stages,” I Feel Bad About My Neck
Ephron draws a distinction between mothering and parenting that I’m trying to keep in mind now that my little pink lump has his own opinions and preferences and even sense of style. (He’s a hat guy, apparently.)
There’s a lot of pressure in our culture to shape your kid — that he can be a doctor or great violinist or crusading lefty or whatever if you just play your cards right and mold him with a good preschool and enough enrichment.
But in my heart, I know all that’s nonsense. (I’m totally hoping for gentleman farmer/poet for Pip, though.) He’s his own guy, and I have the privilege of getting to watch that unfold. I can help him to be better educated and more compassionate than he might otherwise be, but he’s going to be who he is, and it’s not my duty or even in my power to whittle him into my ideal.
Ephron calls capital-P Parenting an attempt to glorify raising a child as “something more than the endless hours of quantity time it actually consists of.” As I hide under a blanket, again and again, or pry the crayon out of Pip’s mouth for the sixteenth time, I try to remember that.
I can just about manage that.
I feel like my credibility as a parent is somewhat hampered when I smugly tell Pip that another dried apricot will not be good for him while I duck into the fridge for another spoonful of frosting for myself.
Sometimes being a grownup is grand.
I didn’t read any books about breastfeeding before becoming a mother. I mean, I frantically read the relevant sections of my baby books in the hospital, and kellymom became my BFF, and when things went downhill I saw a lactation consultant, but I never prepared for it in the way I prepared for birthing my baby. I started with the goal of a year of breastfeeding, and early on, I’d have to remind myself, “OK, one-twelfth done,” just to get through.
So maybe because I haven’t read a lot like it, The Nursing Mother’s Guide to Weaning feels special to me. It’s not especially dogmatic, though of course you can tell that the authors think you should breastfeed until your child leaves for college. It’s organized around different ages to answer the question, “If I want to wean at this age, how to do I do it?” And it asks, quite sensibly, “Well, why do you want to wean? If you could fix your breastfeeding relationship, would you wait a little longer? No? OK. Try these things.”
I flipped through it the other day as my fifteen-month-old nursed, and then finished it when he fell asleep on me yesterday after the latest round of shots. And it really helped give me courage and a plan.
See, I didn’t expect to ever say the words “as my fifteen-month-old nursed.” But it’s no secret Pip is a horrible eater who avoids entire swaths of food, entire food groups even, and that this causes me an inordinate amount of concern. And, for better or for worse, Pip makes up for his aversion to table food in his dedication to nursing, so, with the pediatrician’s blessing, my new plan is to nurse to eighteen months — if Pip’s still up for it — giving him more time to learn to like a wholesome assortment of foods. Then, in the spring, when we have the distraction of being outside and he’s through with the worst of his separation anxiety, we’ll give this whole weaning business a go.
I guess I just want to say I’m really grateful for the book, and for having a new plan.