Letting Go of Normal
I would love to describe myself as whimsical and carefree but those that know me would definitely peg me as a by-the-book rule follower. I believe in social protocol and the "right way" to do things, and my scientific mind likes to have a solid answer to every question. Having a baby has turned this sense of order upside-down and I am finding myself constantly looking for yes or no answers in a new world of maybes.
From the first weeks with my beautiful baby girl I wanted to know if everything was "right" with her. An episode of baby acne sent me to the doctor 4 times because I was convinced it wasn't "normal". I needed to assign a reason for her fussy phase at 4 months so I started telling everyone she was teething. People would tell me it was too early for that, but I stuck to my explanation because she was exhibiting all the signs of teething and calling it an undefined phase was not good enough. I want to be carefree, I want to let go of all my fears, but how do I do that when so much can go wrong? All the advice sources for new parents says to trust your instincts, like I will have a spider-web sense of what to do in the event of a crisis, or even just a dinner time struggle. There is no yes or no answer for what is causing her eczema, how many times I should say "no" in a day, or the real reason she won't sleep at times when she seems really tired. What do I do if she hits another baby with a book, or steals a toy, and why won't she stop eating stuff off the ground? I have yet to find a resident expert in the ways of babyness that can give me an answer that will satisfy my need for normal.
What I need to remember is this: My daughter is a fun-loving, inquisitive 11-month old who has a ready smile for everyone and loves to laugh. She also has a quick temper and seems to know, and not care, when she is being naughty. Is this normal? Can I really worry about that anymore? She has changed my world in so many beautiful ways and I learn how to just let go a little more every day. I am also learning to understand that she will not get horribly sick if she eats some grass at the park, and that might be okay for me to not use a cart cover at the grocery store. It doesn't necessarily mean anything bad if she seems to be the only baby that won't sit still through storytime, or maybe it does but there really isn't very much I can do about it. I am learning to let go of my need for normal, for my desire to follow the rules in a new job called mommy. And maybe, just maybe, she will turn out just fine in the end. She might even be normal.