When I was pregnant, I happened upon an ingenious little book called Bringing Up Bébé. I read it cover to cover, bought a copy for Jeremy, and began insisting that we raise our child in France – heck, I wanted to move to Paris simply in order to give birth. Week-long recoveries involving hospital menus devoted entirely to cheese and wine? Count me in.
The author presents her case in a clear-cut way – the French just do things better and more efficiently than us Americans. What I really took from the book was this: we as a culture buy too many books and try to make everything into a set of rules to be followed. While American parents are busy reading through libraries of books devoted to babies, the French simply pause and listen to what their baby tell them.
I put the book down, content not to read another thing. I would be a French parent living in America. I didn’t need a book to tell me how to teach my child to sleep and behave. My baby would simply tell me what he needed and I would listen.
Fast forward 3 months.
Griffin is now 11.5 weeks, and I’ve read through BabyWise twice. I purchased a Montessori Curriculum book for infants. I just ordered Secrets of the Baby Whisperer this morning at 5am. I find myself constantly googling questions and reading through blog after blog in an attempt to find solutions to the dilemmas I have. But no one seems to be able to help, and I’ve finally realized why.
Books don’t take real life into account.
Sure, an author can tell you their own, personal account. They can give you examples of stories they’ve heard from other parents. But they don’t know your story. And so, even with yet another book arriving at my doorstep in just two days time, I’ve decided to throw most of what I’ve read out the window and just focus on my baby.
This actually does sound a bit like I’ve come full circle, doesn’t it? If I just listen to Griffin, he will give me cues as to what he needs, when he needs it. But I get too wrapped up in the routine, or the schedule, to truly listen to him.
Yesterday was a perfect example. He woke up and took a nap like a champ. He didn’t even wake one time during an almost 2 hour stint in his crib. But then things went a little haywire. As I’ve mentioned before, we have a pretty good schedule on most days that involves set 3 hour time frames. But yesterday he woke early from a nap and simply wanted to play for awhile before eating. Of course, after he finally ate he was tired and didn’t want to adhere to my playtime routine.
The routine, as I had established it, had been shot to pieces.
But the fault lay solely with me. Instead of cherishing those playtime moments, taking in all his smiles and capturing each little coo and wondering gaze, I frantically checked the clock every few minutes, worried about just how “off” our daily routine was going to be.
This caused the day to be stressful for me, and in turn stressful for baby and daddy later that evening.
Today began in much the same way, and quite honestly I was stressed about it. Hence me purchasing The Baby Whisperer. But since then I’ve had a chance to pray and really ask God to help me get a grip on my control freak tendencies. There’s just no way I can listen to what my baby is telling me if I constantly plug my ears and ignore his cues.
I think I’ll reread Bringing up Bébé. I need to stop attempting to train my baby, and instead allow him to teach me his language.