Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thursday Thoughts on Parenting

I love the fall. It seems like we're just turning that corner between autumn and winter...most of the colorful leaves from the giant Maple tree in our front yard have fallen onto the lawn, which is beautiful too. Madeline sure had a good time stuffing fistfuls into her mouth yesterday. As the weather goes from cool to cold, it's strange to watch our neighbors installing an in-ground swimming pool in their backyard (while we're bundling up and taking Madeline's new snow suit for a test drive, a gift from her great grandmother, Marion).

Last night, Buffy and I went to dinner at Jonah's, an elegant seafood restaurant on the river. We realized that for all the time we spend together, we're always juggling babies. So we treated ourselves to a grown-up night out while our wonderful husbands put the girls to bed. Last Friday, Buffy and Dan had us over to their house for dinner with another couple. We packed Madeline up and told her she was going to her first sleep over. She was thrilled! So excited, in fact, that she never went to sleep -- shrieking and wailing every time we left her in the Pack 'n Play. But the moment she rejoined the dinner party, she giggled and flirted, acting wide awake as the hours rolled by. She finally drifted off at almost 11pm when we got home.

It's hard to know, as a new parent, how to handle these tough situations. Should I have let her scream her brains out (otherwise known as the "cry-it-out method," a phrase that makes the softie in me cringe) until she finally fell asleep, only to wake her an hour later to come home? On a daily basis, Rob and I make the best decisions we know how, but it's hard not to let doubt creep in from time to time. Am I encouraging a bad habit when I put the pacifier in her mouth at 2am? And I realize that these are probably some of the easiest decisions Rob and I will make in Madeline's adolescent life. Being a parent is a big job! Sometimes the awesome power and responsibility of it hits me. And that's when I go to my giant shelf of books -- Your Baby Week by Week; What to Expect the First Year; Loving Without Spoiling; Babyproofing your Marriage; Dr. Spock's Parenting Book; Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters...I've only scratched the surface of the titles on our shelves. More are en route right now from

I wasn't surprised to learn in another book (of course) called Motherless Mothers, that new moms who have lost their own mothers....well, they read. A lot. It's something that gives me peace and confidence. Especially when I read those books and I think to myself, "Whatever, Dr. Whoever-You-Are." That's the best feeling! Because no one knows Madeline like Rob and me. And as long as I give her all the love I have to give, who really truly cares if she needs a quick pacifier re-up at 2am? We just keep figuring it out as we go along.

So other big news in our world: It's official -- Madeline's crawling. And Rob and I are going to our first black tie event this weekend. We'll take lots of blog pictures, of course!

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