Friday, March 23, 2007

Letter to Pumpkin, 9th week

Welcome to the third month my love! I am exhilarated that you are still with us, and now, even though the risk is still high for another 3 or 4 weeks, I am convinced that you are here to stay, no matter what. :)

You certainly are making your presence known quite strongly, even though you are still invisible to anybody but me (- I am already fantasizing that my tummy has grown because of you, for sure some of my pants don't fit me anymore!). My only consolation is that in a few weeks time the nausea should subside, and my energy levels will pick up again as well. Though, I do not have much to complain in reality. I have not once vomited because of you. I have heard of women who have to take medication against their nausea, and cannot even keep fluids down, or leave the bed all day long. I guess I am lucky - yet I have a hard time imagining that I could possibly feel any worse. Your mama can be a big wimp, sometimes.

Wimpy also in the emotional department, I guess. Yesterday I had my first bouts of real anxiety because of you, and the change of pace and lifestyle you will mean. Questions of what I will be able to provide for you, what I will be able to teach you, or if I will be able to change your diaper without throwing up, or even forget to feed you at regular times. Ask our cats, they know what I am talking about. Will I be able to teach you good behavior at a very early age like my parents insist is very easy and very possible if only I am consequent with what I am doing? Or will I end up a hysterical chaotic woman trying to shuffle everyday chores with a screaming and tantrum-throwing child hanging at my legs at all times, leaving the house in pyjamas and dissheveled hair because personal hygiene will be a luxury I simply won't have anymore because of your demands? Will I - much like my usual self - rather accept you throwing tantrums in public than to raise my voice to discipline you and cause a scene that has people staring at me when we are out? What does "disciplining" mean, anyway? Where do I draw the line in strictness, and what is being too lax with you?

I have a few examples in my circle of friends and family that have had babies a few years ago. On the one end of the spectrum of extremity we have the parents that run after their toddler all day long quite literally with their hands hovering protectively in a radius of about 10 cm off her head, just in case the child should fall. This child is allowed in the living room only, with her parents, the door to all other rooms shut tightly, and all furniture somehow made toddler-safe or pushed against the walls entirely. The kitchen is off-limits to her altogether. She has to sit down when she eats and stay put until she is done, and her mother religiously observed all recommendations for nutrition for children under one, down to the very scripture. On the good side of this: they are consequent with their "nos", and as a result the child is quite well behaved and doesn't throw tantrums knowing well that this kind of behavior doesn't get her anywhere.

She is, what my friends on the other end of the spectrum of extremity would call a "trained monkey" - the epitomy of all that is bad and evil in child-rearing. Their children grow up without the word "no" altogether, and learn under the principle of "trial and error" without any restrictions to speak of. And if that means running around the apartment with a large kitchen knife, or drinking a cup of coffee at the tender age of 5, or having a sip of champagne(!) at 11 months(!) old - so be it. They do not tell their children what not to do, they ask them kindly, hoping for the "correct" response - which they almost never get. They have no daily routine, the 5-year-old still sleeps in his parents' bed (along with the toddler), and show no respect for authority. On the good side of this: I have never seen a more independent and dexterous 5-year-old in my life. Through his unrestricted experimenting and doing whatever he feels like doing without any kind of consequences he has learned to be careful, and letting him cut an apple into slices with said large kitchen knife is no cause for concern anymore, he handles it so well.

There are many other examples, most of which lay somewhere in the middle of said extremes, some tilted more this way, some more that.

I find even the mere thought of what kind of mother I will be too challenging to really dabble with it much. It gets me dizzy and makes my head spin. Not to mention that thinking of myself in terms of "motherhood" makes me feel like my youth just went soaring out the window for good.

Alas, your grandmother said such thoughts and fears are common. An acknowledgement of my struggle which she immediately followed by a "But don't get hysterical. I don't want a whiney grandchild because of you."

Yep, that's your grandmother for you - a goodhearted woman, kind and caring and full of great advice, who would rather chew her own tongue off than say something that could be misinterpreted as acknowledgement, consent, agreement, encouragement, compliment or even adoration. :)

Oh, good news about your Daddy, too! Guess where he is right this second... well, guess! I think you did well squeezing your tiny thumbs - today he was invited at his potential employers for the fourth time, after 2 interviews and 1 trial day. Sounds to me like paycheck negotiations are finally on schedule - why else would they have asked him in again? Certainly not to tell him that they have changed their mind afterall. Could have done that over the phone, right? Right. :)

Let's hope for the best. Just like I do for you, my baby, and for myself and the challenges that being your mother will certainly be.

I love you,
Mama

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