There is an episode of ‘Everybody loves Raymond’ where Marie Barone disdainfully looks at Ray and Debra’s friends and says “Oh, you are book parents”. I laughed hysterically while watching this because I was seven months into my pregnancy and had been reading every book I could get my hands on about parenting in preparation for Lil Z’s arrival. I asked myself then “Is it really that bad being a book parent?” Three months into parenthood, I can safely say not at all.
Maybe there are women out there who just get the whole motherhood thing the minute they hold their baby in their arms. I was not one of them. To top it off, my mom lives a couple of oceans away in another continent, and my mother-in-law is many states away. For various reasons, neither of them were able to come visit while I grappled with the trials of new motherhood. So I found myself turning to the books, sometimes as much as 20 times in a single hour. ‘Hmmm…is he really supposed to be pooping EVERY time I change his diaper and is it supposed to look like THAT? Frantically turn pages…ahh, yes, breastfed babies do indeed poop that much and it is mustard colored and seedy. He is hungry AGAIN, maybe he isn’t getting enough milk…what does the book say…ok, phew…newborns feed every 2 to 3 hours.’
It took a whole 12 weeks before Lil Z-Bear gave me a smile, and I started to wonder if he even knew I was his mommy or just a giant boob to him that provided nourishment. I was able to keep my sanity when I read that preemie babies achieve their milestones starting to count from their due date. And even though my mom told me about swaddling a baby, reading about the science behind why swaddling works, and what to use in combination with swaddling to calm a baby allowed us to get some sleep at night.
It’s not always easy being book parents. When we turn down invitations because we jealously guard Z-Bear’s sleep and nap schedule, we get to hear a lot of different opinions. But it really doesn’t bother me because Lil Z’s healthy sleep habits make him a happy child, and in turn us happy parents. Plus we are going to blink and he is going to grow up, so for now, there’s nothing I’d rather do than stay ensconced in our little nest of three. But wait, when do we need to socialize him more and how? Gotta run now and find a book for that…