My Parker Bear turned 8 this past weekend! EIGHT! When I first started blogging my 3rd post was about how he had just turned 6! That seems like so long ago. Except that eight doesn't look all that different from six. Not on Parker. His personality changes very little from year to year. He has a very consistent personality; you almost always know what to expect from Parker.
Of course, he wasn't always this way. Those first 6 months were H-A-R-D!
Cameron was what I call a "textbook baby". Brian and I had gone through a "parenting course" (for lack of a better term) called Preparation for Parenthood. The materials told you a baby should be sleeping through the night between 8 and 10 weeks old and that, if you follow their process, your baby would be on a regular sleep/eat/wake cycle and that you would know what your child needed based on where they were in that cycle.
So Cameron was only 6 months old when we decided we were ready for another baby. "Bring it on! If it's this easy and this sweet then we can handle it. The more the merrier! Besides, if it took us 1/2 as long to get pregnant as it did with Cameron then we'd better get started now so that in 6 to 8 months we'll be pregnant again. They'll be about 2 years apart."
One month later we were calling friends and family and sharing the good news. "We're having #2!"
I was about 7 months pregnant when we decided to start making a move to Woodstock. Then Brian lost his job four months later - just two months after Parker was born. ('Nother post for another time.) Then Brian didn't work (and neither did I) for 6 months. And Parker was born in the middle of this. Add in the fact that our friends on the southside thought that we had already moved and that our friends on the northside were an hour away left us with very little support emotionally. And boy! did I ever need emotional support. Post partum blues and depression is an ugly thing, y'all. Ugly.
Parker was tough. Colicky and sad. That poor child cried. A whole heck of a lot! And he sure wasn't sleeping through the night at 10 weeks...or 18 weeks ... or at 6 months...or at one year. Breastfeeding was a nightmare with him. And there were many times I had to put him upstairs in the bonus room and close the door because I couldn't handle listening to him cry anymore. It seemed there was nothing I could do that helped him.
That "parenting course"? Went in the garbage. I finally realized around month 7 that Adam and Eve didn't have "Preparation for Parenting". That Elizabeth perhaps didn't raise John the Baptist on a sleep/eat/wake cycle. That Abraham Lincoln's sweet mother didn't know anything about the authors of this course. And I realized that if God hadn't included it in His Holy Word then it wasn't the only way to parent. I let myself...and most importantly...I let Parker off the hook and I began to realize that when he only nursed for 10 minutes, instead of 30 like the course said he should, that that was a blessing. I was busy. I had two children to take care of now and didn't always have time to sit for 30 minutes. He was an efficient nurser and that was a gift from God.
I also realized that each child is different. Sometimes as different as night is from day. And that's also a gift.
And OH! is Parker ever a gift! He's my birthday present - born two days after my birthday. He's the sweetest, cuddliest thing you'll ever meet. He's not easily influenced. When we're at a restaurant or a store and other children are acting up, he just looks calmly at me and says, "They shouldn't be acting like that." He has a tender, tender heart. He's a people person. He knows stuff about relationships that many adults I know could use a lesson on.
He's mine. And I'm so so so blessed to be able to say that.
P.S. God, can I get a do-over? I'd really like to be able to have his first year back with the little bit of wisdom and patience I have now.