Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I remember in my BMK (Before Morgan Kate) days I would sit and ponder motherhood. I was so sure I was going to have all the answers. I was so sure I was going to know exactly what to do. I was going to be the best mommy. Ever.

My baby was going to be on a strict schedule. Schedules are important. I was going to nurse my baby. Breastmilk, in my BMK opinion, was the only adequate nourishment. My baby was going to cry it out and sleep in their own crib, every night. And I would not rock them to sleep. Following those "rules" would make them more independent. My baby would not take a bottle even one day longer than their first birthday. Because that's what all the magazines said to do. My baby would be potty trained by the time they were two. Diapers are expensive. My baby would be polite and well-mannered. No one likes a brat. My baby would not throw fits and the minute he or she cried out in a restaurant I would immediately take them out. I completely respect other people and their space. And besides, I would know exactly what to do about discipline. I would read to my baby every chance I got and TV would not be an option. Cartoons are not good for chidlren's brains.

I used to be quite the expert, huh?

Then, I became a mommy. And all of that went right out the window. Well, most of it. And I can say, with 100% certainity, that I am so thankful that it did.

Yes, schedules are important, especially early on. Without one, you and your baby could lose all sanity. But, flexibility is important, too. I love that MK has the same bedtime during the week. I love that we have her bedtime routine down to a science. But, I also love that on the weekends we can be off schedule. She can stay up late if she wants to or if we want her to. She can sleep past 7:00 am, which in turn means so can we.

Morgan Kate received breastmilk until she was 13 weeks old. I pumped and pumped and pumped some more. Actually, to be quite honest, I was a terrible pumper, but it didn't take much to feed a baby that only weighed one pound and twelve ounces. When she was thirteen weeks old I stopped. I beat myself up for about a week and then I just let it go. We went through numerous formulas and several reflux medications, but we worked it out. I had heard that formula fed babies were always sick and got frequent ear infections. Morgan Kate was always healthy and the ear infections didn't start until she began drinking whole milk.

Cry it out? No rocking? Sleep in their own bed? No bottle past 12 months? Ha. I am the ultimate rule breaker in these departments. 

I think Morgan Kate was probably at least a year old before I let her really cry it out. My heart just couldn't handle it. But guess what? Even though I never really let her cry it out, she's fine. She doesn't have fits before bed or nap time. 

Most nights MK sleeps in her own bed and when she was a teeny, tiny baby girl we really didn't let her sleep in our bed. I was afraid she would suffocate. We would rock her or sit up with her. But now? If she wakes up in the middle of the night and can't get settled, we most certainly do bring her to our bedroom and snuggle her down in between the two of us. Nothing else quite like it in the world. But, she doesn't ask to come to bed with us and she doesn't refuse to sleep in her crib just because we let her sneak in our bed once or twice a week. 

And for the record, she's now thirty-one months old and we still rock her each night before bed and she still gets a bottle when she wants one. We don't care what the magazines or the experts or other people say. We do it because it works for us and because we enjoy it. She's recently not wanted a bottle before bed and so, we don't give her one. We rock her just enough to settle her and then we put her to bed. She grabs her pillow, turns over, says "Night, night" and she's off to sleepy land. Rocking my baby girl before bed is one of the most rewarding parts of being a mommy. I don't care who disagrees. This is time I am never going to get back and if I have to give up some of my own personal time to settle her for bed, then so be it. I would give it up again and again and again. 

And at thirty-one months old she's not potty trained. We're slowly working on it. We read a lot, but we also watch a lot of cartoons. And guess what? She knows some very simple Spanish and she knows all about animals and how to be kind to your friends. She knows songs and dances. And, despite my best efforts, she's not always the most well-behaved child. She tells me no and she doesn't always listen. She certainly has her share of tantrums. She will pitch a fit and throw herself on the floor in a heatbeat. And she's been known to get a little rowdy in the middle of a store and/or restaurant before. But those are rare occurences.

Regardless of the things I did or didn't do. The rules I did or didn't follow. She's a pretty remarkable little girl. She has a big heart. She loves to help others and give hugs. She kisses her mommy and daddy before bed each night and says "I love you". She's an excellent, 12+ hour sleeper. And naps good during the day. She loves people and animals. She says "please" and "thank you". She says her blessing and her prayers. She talks about baby Jesus. She smiles and laughs most all of the time. She will try any food at least once. She loves veggies and fruits and actually prefers them over sweets. 

So, yeah, I thought I knew it all. I thought I was going to have it all under control. I thought I was going to be the best mommy. Ever. But, I'm learning to be careful. Careful of what I think. How I speak. How I judge. Careful of the rules I think I will follow. And Morgan Kate is the absolute best teacher.

Three days until the walk! 
Remember, 9:00am at the Edisto Gardens in Orangeburg.
Tomorrow is the last day to donate to Team Morgan Kate!
An ENORMOUS thank you to all of those who have prayed, supported, encouraged and donated! This wouldn't be possible without you!


Kathy Hardison said...

Loved your post! You so get being a mommy!! You literally put your heart on the table and feel it all. YOu are a great mommy but you have one spectacular little girl. I love you both to the moon and back and then some :)

Hollie Heming said...

Jessica and I will be wearing our shirts tomorrow. Go Team Morgan Kate! Hope Saturday is a HUGE success. I will be thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

You have done and are doing a fabulous job raising your precious little girl!!! She is one happy and sweet princess! I love spending everyday with her!!


Anonymous said...

Your posts always make me smile and cry :) Morgan Kate is SO LUCKY to have a mommy and daddy like you and Travis. She is a baby doll and I love that she and Annie Parker are growing up together! Love y'all!