Sunday, May 18, 2008

Watch out, she's back on her soapbox.

When it comes to parenting -- well, maybe when it comes to more than just that -- I like to see things done naturally. That is to say, the way they've been done for thousands of years in thousands of places up until someone in America decided technology could improve God's design.

For instance, sleepingwith your baby. I was reading the wikipedia article, "Co-sleeping is standard practice in many parts of the world outside of North America, Europe and Australia, although even in these countries children sometimes crawl into bed with their parents. One 2006 study of children age 3-10 in India reported 93% of children co-sleeping.[1] Co-sleeping was widely practiced in all areas up until the 19th century, until the advent of giving the child his or her own room and the crib." (emphasis added.) I especially like the last sentence. The reason everything changed -- after being the same for thousands of years -- was some victorian-era know-it-all.

How fascinating. Now, at this point, I should probably take a moment to make sure you know I'm not a radical on this issue. Really. In fact, I never planned on having Betsy sleep with us. It just happened. I could tell it was what made her the most comfortable. At the time, I was very nervous about it, but the idea has grown on me in a big way.

Motherhood is certainly a job. And it's not the kind with lots of rewards. And, if we're being honest here, it's totally redundant. Every day, people just keep needing clean clothes. And wanting food. And eating on dishes. And, gosh darn it, that baby keeps crying. Every day. Speaking of her, Betsy stops me short in my tracks. It doesn't matter who's over or what game we're playing or what plans I made, when she needs to eat, my world stops. That's just how it is. When she cries, when she needs a diaper change... I stop. My life just really isn't my own.

That's not to say that I don't like motherhood, but I'm making the point here that it is a change. A big one.

So, some days wear you out. Just an ornery hour can wear you out. But that crazy snuggle-at-night time just overwhelms me. Her tiny body, breathing in so lightly, trusting me so completely. Her toes, meeting me at the waist. Her middle-of-the-night hiccups. In the silence of night, I am strengthened. I am renewed. I'm ready to take care of the cries and the diapers and, especially, to sacrifice my own will for hers.

I love feeding her. I love playing with her. But my absolute favorite time is when I contort my body into a "C" to snuggle up next to her. It's my reward. And it's better than any reward any office could offer.

This morning, I spent 20 minutes this morning just snuggling her, watching her drift in and out of sleep. Watching her, I just couldn't wait for her to wake up. So I guess I'll be ready for her cries.

There might be trouble down the road, when we have to wean her from sleeping with us. But for now, we both just love going to bed. (Okay, maybe we've always liked it.)


Ashley said...

Isn't how amazing how that happens? Kyle often tells me how much he appreciates me giving up my life to take care of Braden, I don't think he'll ever fully understand, Braden is my life now. All I want to do is take care of him and make sure he feels loved. If Kyle comes home and takes him because I'm stressed out from him crying all day- I miss him. I feel bad that I'm not there to make him feel better. Though I miss teaching and the more demanding and challenging tasks I will never feel more needed then I do at home. I loved this post. I think you said everything so beautifully that most mothers feel!

Mommy Kinz said...

Like Ashley, I loved this post. Maybe it's because I can completely relate. Kiera slept with us in bed for the first month or so and it was so beautiful to see her little tummy go up and down. I love how you mentioned how your body formed a "c" to curl up with her. I love that. I wish I could have that back. Now she can hardly ever sleep anywhere besides her bed. So for all of us who miss our cuddly babies- please enjoy those moments for us :) You are such a great mommy!!

Ryan and Chelsea said...

That has got to be one of the cutest pictures I have ever seen. I love all your insights on motherhood and parenting! You're the greatest!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you girl. You are simply amazing!

Jeff & Michelle said...

Sorry, I stalked your blog from facebook. I loved this post so I had to comment. I especially liked the part about motherhood being a job and redundant, etc...but all worth it! Even though I'm a little scared for the unknown and how tiring/redundant/busy I expect it to be, I just can't wait!

I love the picture too! Your baby is the cutest little thing I have ever seen!