Now that I’ve been a parent for a month, I’m hoping to see evidence of an emerging parenting style. Am I an Attachment Parent? Or am I Detached? What are my philosophies on where, when, and how the baby should sleep? Or eat? To wear or not to wear the baby?
Our days go something like this: Wake up. We’ve already woken up several times, this waking up is unique because it’s daylight. Perhaps the baby is in the crib next to the bed. In this case, we’re Room Sharing. More likely, I’ve fallen asleep breastfeeding once again and the baby is draped across my stomach. Both of our mouths are open and we are both snoring. In this scenario, we are Co-Sleeping. (My pediatrician has already given me major stink-eye about this, incidentally. I want to know though, how is it physically possible to not fall asleep breastfeeding in the middle of the night for two hours at a stretch?)
Ok, so we’re awake. The reason we’re awake is that Penrose is hungry. Penrose is basically always hungry, eating, or asleep. That’s fine, she’s 1 month old. So, I’m Feeding On Demand. Which I think is in line with Attachment Parenting. I feed Penrose until she seems calm enough to go back in her crib so I can shower. Inevitably, while I’m showering, she remembers that she’s neither sleeping nor eating, so she must be hungry. She begins to signal appropriately. However, I am in the shower, asserting my Right to Clean Hair, the only right I have retained since giving birth. Since I am not at the moment Attached and able to Feed On Demand, she begins to Cry It Out. This continues until I am out of the shower, whereupon I remember that I am Feeding On Demand and wrap my hair in a towel and get to it. Once she’s calmed down enough to put her back in the crib, I finish my toilette, such as it is. Sometimes she eats again before I can finish getting dressed, and definitely before I can make the bed. Often there’s a diaper change or spit up event necessitating a complete Penrose costume change.
At this point, it’s sometimes 10 or 11 in the morning. (We have made it out of the house earlier, but it’s rare and involves both of us getting less sleep than we really want.) This leisurely schedule is possible because at the moment I am a Stay At Home Mom. You may notice that nowhere in the schedule have I yet eaten, and since I am Breastfeeding On Demand, I am often very very hungry. So I feed Penrose again, hoping to calm her down enough to put her in the swing so I can eat something. Sometimes she takes an actual nap at this point. Or not! Either way, I eat something very quickly.
Once I’ve eaten, and she’s eaten again, and also a diaper change and probable Penrose costume change, we go on an outing. Sometimes this involves Wearing the Baby. Is this the same as Babywearing? How about if the thing in which I am Wearing the Baby is neither Ergo, Bjorn, Maia or Moby, but instead a handmade-looking front pack from 1980s Oklahoma called the E-Z Baby Tote? Lest you fear for the baby’s well-being, my sisters and I were all toted in the E-Z Baby Tote and lived to tell the tale.
So when is my designation as a Babywearer revoked? Because sometimes Penrose cruises in her carseat, attached to the stroller, or just carried around in the carseat itself. This is sometimes for convenience’s sake and sometimes out of a desire to have one massive bicep. What percentage of the time must the baby be worn that I may call myself a Babywearer?
The outing itself could be to a farm, to Family Morning Music, out to lunch with my husband (because it is summer and thankfully there is a place to go out to lunch), or for a walk with the dog. Without fail, Penrose sleeps through our outings, which at this stage is a high form of praise. I think. Anyway, the outings are for my sanity more than her entertainment.
After our outing, we come back home and do some chores (after another feeding, diapering and costume change). Some chores require a napping baby (bathroom cleaning, laundry, oops I took a nap too); others can be accomplished while Babywearing. These are things like watering the indoor or outdoor plants or hanging clothes to dry outside. Sometimes, while Wearing the Baby, I hang cloth diapers on the clothesline (because we are “Cloth Diapering“), then sit on the grass to Breastfeed while watching butterflies and hummingbirds in the yard. Then we go inside and I make some home-brewed kombucha and realize I am actually starring in an episode of “Portlandia.”
Penrose and I spend our evenings eating (which I am getting good at doing one-handed) and often watching “Doctor Who.” I worry a bit about the Screen Time I may be exposing her to (and I have caught her looking at the TV a few times, but it was David Tennant, so who could blame her?) Then, after a story (if she’s having a rare moment of neither eating nor sleeping nor being hungry), a Vitamin D drop and a swaddling, I lay her on her back to sleep in her crib. For about five minutes. Then the snuffling and grunting begins, signaling the need to Feed on Demand, which I do until she falls asleep and I return her to her crib. Or, more likely, we both fall asleep, mouths open, snoring, accidentally Co-Sleeping.
Kidding aside, it does seem as though there’s a lot of pressure to align yourself to this or that philosophy of parenting. And while some may be able to strictly adhere to Attachment Parenting or Ferberizing, or whatever else is out there, I’m willing to bet that my parenting style will be an aggregate of whatever works on a particular day. A little Babywearing, a little stroller, a little crying, and a lot of feeding. And “Doctor Who.”