Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A settlement of differences

When I was pregnant with Daisy, I read everything I could about parenting philosophies: attachment parenting, baby wise, co-sleeping and cry-it-out (CIO), bedtime routines and schedules. I read about the dangers of co-sleeping and the evils of CIO. I read about the pros and cons of pacifier use and the benefits of developing a breastfeeding relationship.

I swore up and down that I would never co-sleep, that my baby would sleep in their crib every night, all night long. And more often than not these days, at least one of our girls is in our bed at some point in the night. I swore that I would never endorse the CIO method, and yet I sit here researching those dreaded sleep-training practices, to help Lily fall and stay asleep at night and at nap. I swore that I was never going to let my baby use a pacifier. How could parents DARE let their innocent babes use pacifiers? Didn’t they know the correlation of ear infections or the long-term effects of their teeth? And yet, with Lily, I find myself keeping a pacifier in the front pocket of the ergo, in her car seat, another in the stroller and one or two in her bedroom. Just in case, you know?

For the most part, J and I have stuck to our guns. We wanted to cloth diaper and we did. We did not want to use formula and we have not. We wanted to make our own baby food and we have. We wanted to try baby wearing, and we have. We believe in family meal times, so regardless of time or place we eat at least one meal a day together as a family.

If I have learned anything over these past three years, however, it is that compromise is the name of the parenting game. I swore that I would never clothe a little girl in pink – and today my daughters’ closet looks like a Pepto Bismol commercial, complete with Disney princess logo clothing. I swore that I would not let my children watch TV – and most days of the week Daisy watches an episode of Curious George or Sesame Street while I make dinner or work. I thought I would never use a Sippy cup, but lo and behold, Sippy cups of water litter my home. And, of course, there are the pacifiers.

These are my nevers, the things I claimed that I would never do, and then so totally did. Most of the time there’s no need to compromise what you have faith in as a parent. But it seems to me that just about every parent compromises at least once.

Or, if they are like me, like five billion times.

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