Sunday, December 5, 2010

Just trust your instincts...

I realize that I promised to blog about the making of my other two Thanksgiving dishes. Well, clearly that didn't happen. So sorry- I made the food, people ate it, blah blah blah. Really not that interesting. All I will say is that potatos au gratin should not be cut the night before and then made the next day- bad move. We'll just say that it made potatos au gratin look like potatos au black. Not apetizing. Enough said on that.

I realized through that cute little project that I am not made for commenting on cooking. My writing style is meant more for meaningless banter, narcissistic revelations and useless sarcasm. I shant detour again.

Today I would like to explore the cliche that is "just trust your instincts." Never is this phrase heard more than with the process of birthing and raising a child. No matter what the topic, the inevitable "end all, be all" answer that the expert seems to resort to is "but just trust your instincts." Here's how it goes:

Question: When will I know that I'm in labor?
Answer: Just trust your instincts

Question: When should I go to the hospital when I'm in labor?
Answer: Just trust your instincts

Question: How will I know if my baby has eaten enough?
Answer: Just trust your instincts

Question: How will I know if it's okay to let my 1-month old cry or if I should go comfort him?
Answer: Just trust your instincts

While this answer might be very helpful for the majority of the people out there, my instincts seem to be broken. Not just when it comes to child rearing, but pretty much any other decision I've ever been faced with...but for the time being, I'm pretty caught up in the whole child-rearing situation. Furthermore, I think that the "experts" say this to be empowering- like a whole "you're the mom, you'll make the right choice" type of thing...but for me, knowing that the ultimate choice of what to do in situation is up to me is just a tad bit terrifying. I'm the mom equals there's no one else here more qualified to make a better decision. Eeks.

For example, my instincts would tell me not to put my child in a straight jacket to sleep...however every night, we "swaddle" our baby boy..and without it, he inevitably wakes himself up. I mean, the swaddle is even Biblical (Luke 2:12). My instincts would also tell me that if I want my child to sleep at night, I should keep him awake in the evening. Oh contrare. Apparently sleep begats sleep, so if your child gets "over tired" he will not sleep well. Hmph. My instincts also told me that when I went to the hospital in labor that I was going to have my baby within 6 hours...and then I found out I was dilated to a 2 and endured a 19 hour labor! So, the instincts..they are no good.

Maybe I need, like an instinct "tune-up" or something. I'd really like to be a "natural" at all of this. I'd really like to know the innate answer to all of the hard questions, but I have a feeling that if I don't have it now, I'm never going to. And from what I hear, the questions only get harder: Should we let our child have a cell phone? Is our child making good friends? Are we disciplining our child the right way? You can look in all the books, but all of the general examples in the world don't seem to give me the concrete answer that I need. And whatever the answer is that I picked, there always seems to be a secret "door number 3" that I should have picked.

The other night after a series of quandaries, all of which I seemed to have the wrong answer to, I asked my husband "How do the idiots do it?" I guess it makes me hopeful that not every decision is life changing...that maybe that if I accidentally hold my baby too long, or not swaddle him tight enough or don't feed him long enought that just maybe I won't ruin him for life.

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