Mothering in The Hood

I have become so many things I swore I would never. My facebook page is a shrine to my daughter. I talk about her all the time. I don’t think I’ve taken a photo that doesn’t have her as it’s star since she was born. I can’t hold a conversation about anything non child related for longer than five minutes. And I’m fine with that.

Writing has always been an easy process for me. Usually, I sit down, and words come out. Now, not so much. Finding the time when I don’t have one eye on Rori or am too tired to contemplate creative endeavour is the first hurdle. Then there’s the problem of my brain slippage. This is roughly the seventh time I’ve started this blog entry. I’ve either fallen asleep, written the same sentence over and over or written aimless drivel about how adorable Rori’s face is when she farts (its both hilarious and gorgeous, I assure you). I’ve given up on not making it about her though. Sometimes, you just have to work with what you’ve got.

Of course, taking care of a baby is easy. If she’s crying (and her nappy isn’t full), she’s usually either tired or hungry. And you can tell she’s hungry because she gets cranky, chews her fist, isn’t interested in anything else and her little limbs flail about. Unless she’s tired. And the signs for that are crankiness, fist chewing, disinterest in games or people and flailing limbs. And breastfeeding is easy. Unless it really hurts. But that’s easy fixed. It could be bad attachment, thrush, vasospasm, sensitive nipples, residual jaw issues from the brace or a combination of all or none of these factors. So that’s crystal clear, too.

Knowing how to manage her moods, needs and behaviour is similarly clear. When they are less than four months old, you should attend to them when they cry so they learn the world is a good place and you are to be trusted. However, you should also let them cry and settle themselves. You shouldn’t change your lives to suit them, but you should make sure that they have some routine even if it doesn’t fit in with your schedule. You should not let them use the breast as a comfort device, but you should feed on demand. Most babies Rori’s age feed every 3 to 4 hours. Unless they need to feed every two hours due to their rapid growth. Formula fed babies are more prone to obesity and immune deficiencies, although teams of scientists have balanced the ingredients of the formula more carefully than you could ever hope to balance the diet of a breastfeeding mother. They should sleep in with you until they are six months old, but you should put them in their own room so they get used to their own space.

Basically, you should listen to your instincts. Unless they are wrong.

I called a meeting with Rori today to touch base and spitball some ideas about taking this parenting process cleanly into the next phase and to ascertain whether she felt she was happy with the service we, as an integrated parental unit, are providing. I showed her some of the literature I’ve been reading, gave her the input of various health professionals I’ve dealt with recently, gave her grandparents’ input, the advice of our friends and mothers group. I then ran her through a slideshow of how I feel we’re meeting our KPIs and outlined a few strategies for the future. Finally, I asked her to give me an honest and brutal appraisal. She smiled, stuck a fist in her mouth, raised one eyebrow exactly like her dad does and farted. I am going to take that as a win.