So this has been my morning.
After receiving some discouragement about my mothering methods last night, I spent the greater part of this morning battling with Arddun during breakfast when usually, it’s our favourite time of the day together. And then she got down from her highchair, crawled for a bit, slipped while getting up to stand, fell, hit her face and got a nosebleed.
Yes. My baby got blood.
And so I’m sitting here feeling frustrated, relieved, and annoyed in equal measure. Relieved that her nosebleed turned out to be nothing serious, frustrated that the morning wasn’t handled as well as I’d hoped, and annoyed that I had allowed some well-intentioned advice to get in the way of my momfidence.
Like all other parenting books and theory, I have a love-hate relationship with the Growing Kids God’s Way series – mostly because I’m suspicious of anything that tries to reduce the art of parenting into a paltry science. I’m particularly torn about the GKGW series because of its clever branding – I mean, as a Christian, how does one feel good about NOT growing a kid “God’s way”? And yet, I have enough marketing savvy to know that the GKGW series doesn’t have the monopoly on godly parenting any more than Woolies has the monopoly on fresh food. And yet, like a sucker, I wonder anyway.
I’m mostly annoyed with myself because I lack major mommy mojo. I’m so completely new at this still, that I can feel myself clutching at most advice and pitching one against the other in epic court battles conducted only in my brain, so I emerge resentful and unsure of my instincts. This morning’s breakfast skirmish had all to do with how Arddun communicates that she’s done with a particular food item – in that she tends to clear her tray table by dropping what she’s had enough of outside of her tray. Messy? Yes. But she’s communicating and at this stage, I’m more interested in nurturing a healthy attitude towards food and self-feeding than I am about this particular table manner. Other manners and social expectations are being taught at the moment. The dropping of food is not our current priority, and has never bothered me.
Until it was brought up as an absolute no-no by another mother.
On hindsight, I wonder why I felt compelled this morning to rid Arddun of this seemingly appalling habit of communicating her preferences just because another mother said I should. As it is, we teach very different feeding habits to our babies – she spoon-feeds her baby completely until nigh age, while Arddun has been feeding herself since 5.5 months. And both of us are going to reach a stage of change over – where she will have to teach her baby to feed herself, while I will have to teach Arddun to keep food in her bowl or on her tray. In the calm of the morning, I can see this. But last night, I went home doubting everything I’d been doing since day dot – all because I had been in the company of women who chose to feed their children differently.
Anyhoo… I still haven’t decided if it’s time for a change with Arddun’s feeding habits. And don’t get me wrong – like all parenting books and theories, GKGW has some fabulous tips and tricks which I fully intend to tap into. But it isn’t parenting gospel, despite its catchy brand. And parenting is an art, and not a science. And I’m going to stop blogging so I can hug my child, kiss her sore nose, and then let her have some quiet time in her play pen. Without a kitchen timer telling us when to stop.