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Kristen's Parenting Journal

Entry 1 ~ April 6, 2010
Learning to Take Your Own Advice

There comes a day in every new parent's life when you wake up, start doing the normal things that you do with your baby, and a change has occurred in her sometime during the night. Your baby, who once was a smiling, happy, vibrant little image of you and your spouse, has suddenly taken a drastic turn. She has begun drooling like a rabid dog, crying for no reason, and in our case, growling instead of using those sweet little ma-ma-ma mams that she has been using up until this point. Welcome to the wonderful world of teething. It won't be long until two little pearly whites pop up out of those sweet little gums. This is what has recently happened with Sophie and figuring out how to deal with her tantrums and mood swings, and the advice that other parents give you, is the topic of my entry.

Temper tantrums and mood swings have been handled in one of two ways. If we decide that she is really in pain, we will snuggle her, rock her and make sure that she is physically fine. If she is just having a crying bout, the best advice I can give is to wait it out or pick her up and let her know that you are there for her and you know she is having a rough time.

Recently, Sophie was dealt a nasty case of RSV, which is one of every new parent's nightmares. It was so pitiful; she couldn't breathe out of her nose, would not eat much and we had to do breathing treatments with a nebulizer every 3 to 4 hours, which she hated. This brought on one of the worst decisions that we have made so far, but which at the time, was the only one we could make. We took her out of her crib and let her sleep at a 30 degree angle, between her mom and dad. Yes, folks, this has now backfired and she won't go back to her crib, but that is our next struggle to overcome as parents. It will be so nice when my husband and I can sleep without worrying about rolling over on a tiny arm or leg. Wish us luck as we begin the switch from the warmth of our bed to the peace and tranquility of Sophie's crib. We will either move her back or I am afraid one of us may decide to start sleeping in it!

If you are like me, everything feels like an insult, when it comes to advice about how to raise your baby. You will find that the worst are the tidbits of advice people give you about things that they did wrong in the past. Well, that makes me believe that everyone must have gone through this and none of them did it correctly. That in turn, makes you think, "Hey I am not doing such a bad job here, especially if everyone before me has had the same struggles."

To me, some constructive criticism in the past on certain topics has always been welcome. And then, I had a baby. And no matter how I try to take it worth a grain of salt, I just can't help but feel like people think I am not doing a good job in my new role as a stay at home mother. This is not a job that I was at all prepared for and sometimes I think I am doing a terrible job at it. It is on those days when I get the most "advice" on how to do things. The one that I have the hardest time dealing with is my husband being at work all day and then coming home and questioning things that I am doing on a daily basis with our daughter. It is the worst on days when I am struggling through Sophie's gums being so sore, she cries every time I leave her line of sight, she screams like she has been branded the minute I put her in her crib, or she grabs my shirt to pull herself up in my arms every time I get close enough to her. That is just something that I am hoping to come into my own on.

People will give you all kinds of advice, but remember, ultimately, you and your spouse have the opinion that matters the most when raising your child. And try not to take it as personally as I do, because deep down, they really just are trying to help you get through it.

So just remember, if you are struggling through teething, sickness, separation anxiety, endless advice or any of the zillion other things that you can be struggling with, these things will hopefully all pass. Things will keep on getting easier and better and soon, that little grouchy thing will once again be smiling up at you and making you laugh. At least that is what I am hoping happens, but that is still to be announced. When I am sure, you will be the first to know!

Take care!

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