Thursday, January 16, 2014

Groundhog Day

There's this Adam Sandler movie called 50 First Dates where he plays some guy trying to woo Drew Barrymore status post brain injury. Drew's character is left with some severe deficits, namely that she is unable to form new memories since the accident. She wakes up every morning with a clean slate, then goes about her day, then the memories from that day vanish throughout the night, and she wakes up with a clean slate again. It's horribly unrealistic from a neurological standpoint, but it's a sweet movie nonetheless. One particular scene in that movie has really resonated with me these last few weeks. Adam Sandler's character is trying to convince Drew Barrymore's character's family to try something new in an attempt to aide her recovery. The family is hesitant initially, so Adam Sandler says something to the effect of "worst case scenario, we've only lost one day."

That's what it's like having a newborn. Except it's not even a passes by in windows of 3-4 hours.

Some more background information: I read this book and I have this app that corresponds to it and it gives me this little schedule for you. Eat at 7:00AM, play at 7:30, nap at 8:00, eat again at 9:00, and so on. And it's that simple, right? Just follow that little schedule and everything will be fine. That schedule LIES. And, I mean, how could it not? Every kid is different! You are a unique individual, and what works for you may not work for other babies and vice versa. Not only that, but what works during one 3-hour shift may not work during another. Sometimes we stick to a really great schedule! You eat like a champ, you're all smiles and enjoying that little bit of tummy time, and then you're out like a light. At those times, you're an absolute angel.

Then, there are other times where it doesn't go so well.

Oh, someday you're going to be so mad at me for including that photo! But it's necessary because there's an important lesson here. Those tough moments seem infinite at the time, but they're fleeting; and what's more, you get a fresh start once they pass.

One thing you'll learn about your mommy is that I'm a huge perfectionist. It's why I have a doctorate degree from a wonderful school, and it's why I'm studying for a big test that will make me a specialist in my field. It motivates me to work hard at what I'm passionate about, but it also makes me horribly critical of myself. So when you don't go down for a nap so easily, and you're forcibly feeding yourself until you spit up and then you scream because you're hungry all over again, and you're just plain over tummy time, I question my competency as a mother. I wonder just how much I've done wrong, and just how much I've screwed you up as a result. But once I bring myself back from Crazytown and start thinking logically again, I remember that I'll get a fresh start in a few hours. And it's during those hours that I KNOW I'm doing something right.

And the best part about it is that, unlike Drew Barrymore's character in that movie, you CAN form new memories. You won't remember these moments specifically, but they're certainly contributing to your development. Those little victories for both of us add up to something really wonderful. This applies to so much more than raising a newborn, and I hope you'll find this advice useful throughout your life: savor those little victories but, more importantly, savor the failures too because that's what keeps us humble. This is probably the most important lesson you've taught me thus far. That, and to not be self-conscious about how many photos there are of me on the Internet right now with no make-up on.

When you have a bad day, or a bad three-hour block of time, don't beat yourself up. The next morning, you'll wake up to "I Got You Babe" on the radio all over again, and you'll earn yourself a mulligan.

1 comment:

  1. OH the Wisdom you've gained! Every book should have a page at the end that says: Throw This Book Away and Just Fly By The Seat Of Your Pants! Because in the end that's what you do! Every individual is unique, thus every combination of individuals are and so come the complexities. Books overthink. No rights, no wrongs, no real wrong doings! Just new starts each time! And it DOES get easier! I LOVE THE PICTURES! And I'm certain many wish they could look so naturally lovely. And happy (despite the exhaustion) Kudos!