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I’m pretty bad at resolutions. To be completely honest, I don’t even want to go back and see if I wrote any last year. My guess is I did and that I didn’t succeed at them, much like the ones for the past several years. So I’m trying something a little different. I guess you could call this a resolution if you’re hard pressed for a descriptor, but I think it’s more a change in the way I think.
When Eli was sick right after Thanksgiving (not to be confused with the time after that or the time after that, this month can die in a fire), I toiled each night with what to do with his sleeping arrangements. We had successfully moved him to his own room and got him sleeping in his crib and while it wasn’t without its problems, it was by and large, a success. Until he got sick. Then he was up 4 and 5 times a night and it took longer to soothe him and sometimes I just couldn’t get him back down. And for hours at night I would fight with myself over what I should do.
On the one hand, he was sick and he was struggling to sleep in his crib because of all the congestion. On the other hand, I didn’t want to set us back on the crib sleeping, because somewhere along the line, I got it in my head that he really should sleeping in a crib. I somehow go to the point where I believed that if he wasn’t sleeping flat in a crib, we were doing it wrong, that he was doing it wrong, that we were destined for long term sleep failure.
We both lost so much sleep that week due to my stubbornness and refusal to listen to my son as he told me over and over that sleeping flat was not what he needed. It wasn’t until the ear infection that caused hysterical screaming while laying flat that I got his message. He needed to go back to his Rock N Play until he was well. And when he got better, he slept in his crib again.
I’ve been fighting a similar battle with his eating. I am pushing vegetables because I’ve been told that he should be eating more of them and if he doesn’t get used to them now he won’t ever. I’ve been pushing him to drink more because his weight gain has slowed to a screeching halt and he should be drinking at least 8 ounces more milk a day than he is right now. But he’s telling me, over and over, that he doesn’t want to eat more. That vegetables are not his thing right now. But I fight anyway, I fight because I think I should.
And I’m just tired. I’m tired of fighting with my child over what a textbook says he should be doing. I’m tired of spending so much time worrying about what is normal. And so this is my resolution of sorts.
I’m done with should.
My child is sleeping in his own room, sometimes in a crib, sometimes in a cozy little bunny bed. He’s eating what he wants, in quantities he wants, and he will gain weight. I’m not going to force him in a crib because that’s what someone said I should do. I’m not going to force feed him when he’s not hungry because he should be gaining more weight.
I’m done fighting battles, both internally and with my child, that don’t need to be fought. There’s no sleeping Olympics. There’s no trophy for the baby who sleeps in a crib the longest, or the easiest. Or who eats the most vegetables without dramatically gagging. And if there are, I don’t care about them. I’d rather spend time enjoying my child, I’d rather spend time nurturing him, providing him the sustenance and support he needs, that he is telling me he craves, instead of forcing some sense of normal, forcing upon him all those shoulds that I read somewhere.
There are many things I want in this new year (pre-pregnancy body! a million dollars! a vacation!), but none of them so much as I want peace. I want to be happy and carefree. I want my child to be happy and content instead of contentious. And the only way to achieve that is to make a change in the way I think and the way I act. To consider what is truly necessary instead of what I think should be happening. To consider what works for us, even if it works for no one else, because right now, we are all that matters.
My hope is that with this shift in thinking, we will all be happier. That with fewer shoulds we will be less stressed and less pressured. That we will enjoy ourselves and the tremendous blessings we have been handed this past year instead of thinking about what happens down the road if we make one “wrong” decision.
So I’m making 2013 the year of picking my battles, the year of no shoulds. I am choosing peace. And I’m pretty excited about it.