I bet many people, upon learning they will soon be parents, tell themselves, each other and anyone who will listen all the “bad” parent stuff they won’t do with their kids: “My kids won’t watch television. Ever.” “My kids will be raised to be quiet and polite in public.” “My kids will never eat sugar.” It’s not until your child is actually here and prone to boredom that you realize just what you will do to give yourself time to do, well, anything. Finish homework, do your hair, go to the bathroom, think. I’m glad I never got too attached to the perfect parent concept or I might be feeling pretty shite about putting my three month old in front of YouTube to watch Baby Einstein videos while I finish straightening my hair. I try to wear her and let her watch what I’m doing whenever it won’t impede my reach too much, but sometimes it’s just safer to put her down rather than trying to chop onions with her stuck to my chest.
There are good distractions, too. Tonight, for instance, I put her in her stroller and went on a v. long walk with our dog to try to tucker her out. And then I wore her around while I unloaded the dishwasher and stuffed diapers. She enjoyed all that for awhile, but fussed whenever I stood still for too long, i.e., more than two seconds. Eventually she got tired enough to attempt to put her down. I changed her diaper, which she hated for some reason, then swaddled her and started to breastfeed. She fell asleep after filling up and in my attempt to gently transition her to her bed, I accidentally dropped the little Spooka* light from Ikea onto her face and woke her up. I scooped her up and went right back into the bouncing Poang chair (also from Ikea) until she was asleep again. Crisis averted, she now sleeps and hopefully will until morning.
I’m starting to understand that it’s all about balance when it comes to raising children. You balance time spent with and time spent without your kids. You balance healthy activities with bullshit distractions that probably rot their brains. You love them unconditionally, then silently thank the baby book author who said to swaddle your baby and put on white noise to get them to sleep for being a damn genius and giving you time to finish your work. I strive for perfection, but sometimes I’ll take “Okay, this will work” and call it a day. Balance.
*The Spooka is a magical little rubberized light that changes color. It’s soft, so dropping it on baby’s face won’t hurt, thankfully, and it’s small enough to carry around from room to room. It’s re-chargeable, too. I recommend it to anyone.