Because what the internet needs is more wittering about rubbish parenting

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Time is an illusion..

.. lunchtime doubly so. This post has nothing to do with lunchtime, just any excuse for a Douglas Adams quote.

It is, however, about time - more specifically, it's about the peculiar stretching of time that happens once you have a baby. On the one hand, the weeks and months seem to go by scarily quickly. My baby is now 7 and a half months old! Soon she will be 8 months old, then 9, then before I know it she'll be 18 and asking to borrow the car (I realise I may have missed out a few stages of development there, but you get what I mean.).
On the other hand, some of the minutes and hours go by S..O.........S..L..O..W..L..Y.. Like when The Baby will NOT be put down even for a second, and I realise it is an hour and a half until Husband gets home and I can go to the loo. Or when she is screaming her head off with hunger, and I am running her bottle under the tap to cool it, on the rare occasions when I have actually followed the directions on the formula box, rather than just boiling the water hours in advance and heating it up in the microwave (does anyone actually make formula the way they tell you to? Who has time to do that?).
But the longest minutes of all are those where you have put your child down to sleep and they do NOT WANT TO GO NO MAMMY I'M NOT GOING TO SLEEP YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!!! I've been very fortunate in that The Baby is very good at going to sleep at night, but she is rubbish at napping during the day, which means that by tea-time she has usually turned into a demon-child. So I try to get her to nap, which generally she does not take kindly to, and wails like a banshee until I feel like the world's worst mother and get her out to play. A friend mentioned today that her baby always fell asleep after about 10 minutes of this, and now goes without complaint. I replied that The Baby did not, just shrieked until she was more awake. But when I got home, I realised that I had never actually timed it. Now this kind of thing can be controversial (go on, mention controlled crying on a parenting forum, I dare you). But I thought, experiment time....

1. Test conditions set - The Baby is tired. Very tired. She has been at soft play for the morning, and napped for 10 minutes on the way home. She assumes the position, in cot, dummy in mouth, blanket on. Let the whingeing commence.
2. Check the time. It is 15:22. Go downstairs. No really, go downstairs. She's fine. Go and make a cup of tea.
3. OK, I've had enough now. She's been crying for ages. I'm a terrible mother. This is the point I would usually go and either start stroking her head, or get her up. Look at the clock. It is 15:24.
4. Drink tea. Force myself to drink the entire cup, all the while ignoring the voices of scary internet mums saying "You'll give her abandonment and trust issues in the future" in my head.
5. Realise she has probably spat her dummy across the room in a fit of pique. Go up and replace it. It is 15:27.
6. It all goes suspiciously quiet. Go and check - The Baby is asleep. It is 15:30

8 MINUTES!!!! Are you freakin kidding me???!! All this anxiety and it took less time than it does to cook a Batchelor's Pasta 'n' Sauce.

Anyway, I guess the point of this rather long-winded and undoubtedly tedious wittering, is that it is very easy to lose perspective on time when your baby seems distressed. So new mammies, go easy on yourselves. If you need a cuppa, a sandwich, or a wee, put the baby down and have one (or all three). Your baby will be fine, and you will feel better.

1 comment:

  1. Ferberization its called after Mr Feber, we do it with Tilly and you're right at first 2 minutes seems like 2 hours. The crying doesn't bother me at all now- (not that she does it that much cos we ferberized her good in the first few weeks :-) )I found a good trick was to go to a quiet place in the house and switch off the baby monitor then give myself a task to do before I went back up to her. And you're right Bad Mammy controlled crying talk on forums is terrifying!