Friday, August 3, 2012

The Death of Another Parenting Rule

"Change his diaper. Feed him. Burp him and put him to sleep. If he's still crying, that's his problem."

"Mom & Dad were always there -- ALWAYS."
Prior to parenthood, this pretty much summed up my approach to dealing with a crying baby who won't sleep, when he or she needs to sleep.

In my heart of hearts I believed this was a reasonable, fair approach to dealing with a crying baby and one that, in the long run, would yield a happy child and happy parents.

You hear stories, and perhaps you might have even known, kids whose parents coddled them to a frightening degree. 

Most folks would agree that picking up a baby every time they cry is not a good thing but that doesn't stop some parents from doing just that. 

I'm not sure what a baby grows up to be when they've received this type of attention but, I'm sure it's not pretty. 

So, since before my son was born, I knew I wasn't going to be one of those parents, jumping to my feet and sprinting to his room whenever the baby so much as whimpered. 

No sir! I knew better.

My austere, military-like approach would prevail and our son would thank us for it. I just knew it. 

But, like every other presumed axiom I've attempted to implement, I've been forced to reevaluate. 

Just a few weeks ago our little guy started sleeping through the night. For seven uninterrupted hours Mrs. Blackwell and I could enjoy sleep. 

Sweet, beautiful, warm, comfy, peaceful, sleep. Ohh, how Mrs. Blackwell and I missed it. 

And then poof! Just like that, it was gone.

Here's  a tip for masochistic parents: if waking up at 2:47 a.m. to the wails and discomforted groans of a surly, 15-pound bundle of angry is your thing, you should move.

That's what Mrs. Blackwell and I did. 

We moved. We packed up boxes, loaded them on a truck, jumped in the car and drove our lives 450 miles north. 

And shock of all shocks, this threw off our little guy's routine. He might not be able to walk and talk yet, but he can sense big changes. And, frankly, I don't blame him for being a little ticked. 

I'd be a bit unnerved too. With no warning, you're asked to get used to a new room, different weather and a new routine to go with it? 

"First, each of your 'parenting rules' and then this bear.
What's next on my list of things to conquer?"

And did anybody get your feedback before pursuing this course of upheaval? Well of course not.

So, how does my whole "change him, feed him, burp him, put him back to sleep" approach fit in with this new reality?

The answer: it doesn't. 

Fortunately, we won't be moving again for a while and he will return to sleeping through the night soon enough but, I've seen yet another "can't fail approach" or universal truth, laid to waste. 

At the 13-week mark, I am beginning to understand when people say they learned more from their kids than they ever taught them.


Editor's note: Special thanks for your patience with the reduced publication schedule of late. I'll soon have internet installed at my new location and return to a more robust publishing schedule. In the meantime, thanks for reading.

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