Posted by Duff

Before I met the Dervish, I had carved a stone tablet of “I’ll Never”s that ran the gamut of traditional hot button issues discussed in parenting circles: Pacifiers. Feeding. Sleeping.  I’d read a lot of books, asked a lot of questions, and formed beliefs about how to best raise my children. And no one could change my mind because I knew I was right. I was a woman of integrity.

You will be glad to know I got exactly what I deserved.

Cut to week two, pre-sunrise, as I ‘gave up’ and offered the first pacifier, and the Dervish realized comfort. Week six when she hungrily downed her first formula. Two months of twilight sleep because she would sleep only on me and I was terrified I would crush her. Why had no one told me about the painstaking process of teaching a fearful Dervish that if she lay on her back, she would not plummet into a black hole?  One may think a newborn can’t convey skepticism, but only if one has never seen it. A tiny eyebrow was raised, I assure you.

 These were the first vestiges of the Dervish’s endearing sense of humor. Even then she was a big fan of taking me down a peg, teaching me that she wrote the book on herself and would I just get it already so she could stop hollering at me?

Despite the fact that all of these seeming failures turned out to be the right things to do for her and she thrived, I judged myself mercilessly. And I let myself feel judged by others, too. Others who’d had babies unlike the Dervish. Babies who slept in their cribs from night one, lulled by mobiles. Babies who enjoyed stroller rides and reserved the right to delay forming an opinion until a little more living had been done.

It took me awhile to give myself (and the Dervish) a very large break: Mine is a fly by the seat of her pants kind of girl, and she makes no apologies for it.  I had been wringing my hands in chronic apology to her, when I could have just paid attention.

She has definitely taught her old lady a thing or two about pre-conceived notions. What’s the old joke? If only our children came with a manual? I’m starting to think this one did. And, she can’t be the only one.

 Care to confess your “I Never”s? We promise not to judge you. At least not as harshly as you’ve already judged yourself.

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