Recently, I read this http://carriesburnttoast.blogspot.com/2013/02/loving-difficult-child.html post. And then I took some time to think and sit on it, and reflect on how that could impact my parenting and perspective on raising my Marin.
First, it made me realize there are *way* too many things I complain about when it comes to Marin’s personality, demeanor, size [ha!], etc. I griped over the fact that she *refused* to nap for me when she was a newborn and how my body ached trying to help her to sleep in those early days. How she would be overstimulated by just about anything and to settle her down felt like tying down a wild horse. How she only wanted Mike to put her to bed, and I somehow missed out on this overtly I-only-want-my-Mom expectation [which I may be kicking myself for wanting soon…].
Since reading that blog post, I’m working on appreciating who Marin *is* rather than trying to make Marin the baby I want her to be. Yes, she’s the baby I want because she’s my baby. But at the same time, she wasn’t the baby I’d pictured on having in a lot of respects. Sure, I nudged Mike playfully watching the Happiest Baby on the Block video while pregnant as a room full of overtired mothers learned how to get their screaming, irritable babies to sleep knowing we’d be in the same boat soon enough. But, I didn’t *really* understand the physical, emotional, etc. toll that raising a newborn can take and how we can let it affect our parenthood. Especially those early, sleepless days. And nights.
Yes, some of the humble beginnings were just the fact that my child was a newborn, but *a lot* of it is just Marin. She wasn’t cuddly, and I remember the first time she fell asleep in my arms wasn’t until she turned 4 months. (Let me tell you folks, I *soaked* up that moment for all it was worth and then some). I think she’s more cuddly now than she’s ever been, but really that’s not how she wants to go to sleep. During the day, she’d rather talk to someone (including herself, ha!) and be thrown around all day. The more times I toss her in the air, or blow raspberries on her belly, the better. She can play independently without a problem, and loves toys that light up and play music. She *needs* her sleep and if she doesn’t is *miserable* (on some level, I’m sure this is every baby, but it’s worth reiterating). She has quite possibly the most adorable laugh I’ve ever heard, and no, I refuse to admit I feel that way *just* because she’s my baby. It just is the most perfect chuckle you’ve ever heard. She knows who she likes and who she doesn’t. She will only smile for her favorites, and everyone else just kind of stares at and takes them in. She’s extremely observant and constantly wants to look at people or things. She loves the outdoors – from sunshine to snow. Cold air on her face calms her down and puts her to sleep faithfully. She is falling more and more in love with her thumb, but still sleeps with her paci. She can be passed around to anyone, but the second she’s upset or tired, she looks for me. She goes by the alias Cuddle Bug (so ironic), Mar Bear, Ham Hunk, Fuss Bucket (she fusses, but does not ‘whine’) and HELGA!. And despite her size that led to her latter nickname, she is still a 6-mo-old baby who just wants to be snuggled right before bed.
Her name fits her better than I could have imagined. She is my ‘sea-loving warrior’ and ‘wished for, beloved’ child despite all the things that have made loving her for who she is difficult at times. She could play in water all day if I let her, and everytime I turn the faucet on she becomes instantly mesmerized by it. She’s my heart and my little world, and I can’t imagine life without her. I’m going to work on enjoying the things that make her who she is rather than trying to change them moving forward. Or get discouraged if she’s not the baby I expected her to be. Because God has given us the perfect baby for our family and I dearly love her.