Sunday, December 30, 2012

Seriously: Parenting

You know it's been a long time since your last post when regular readers start to worry (hello to Cathy at Playing Hooky :-) Oh dear.

Two nights ago I found myself sitting upright in bed with Baby Gingerbread asleep in the armchair I'd fashioned out of ... well, my arms, actually ... while Mr Gingerbread snored his head off next to me. (In fairness, he had laid a sympathetic hand on my thigh, which is what he does to assuage his guilt at getting to sleep while I comfort a burpy baby.) I was exhausted. We'd just arrived in from a week at home in Ireland and even my bones felt tired. But whenever I put the baby down, he'd wake up, crying piteously, and no amount of back or stomach-rubbing would shift the burp that had got stuck somewhere in his little tummy. So we both sat upright, waiting for the gas to come up - or go down. In bed with two men. How very 'Fifty Shades of Grey ' of me.

Not.

It occurred to me again how hard parenting can be. And I realised that only when I had a baby myself could I fully comprehend how hard my mother and father had worked at raising me and my brothers and sisters. I mean, I was lucky to have kind and caring parents so it would be utterly churlish of me not to recognise their effort, but it's only at 3 a.m. in the wee small hours of the morning, tired to my very marrow, rubbing a 3-month-old baby's back in the black silence of our bedroom do I understand fully how much effort being a halfway decent parent requires, much less a good one.

My own mother has taken to informing us that she "might not live very long". She's trying to prepare us for her eventual clog-popping - statistically seen, most likely to occur with a cup of tea in one hand, a cigarette in the other and the phone jammed under her chin. She said this again over Christmas and my youngest sister - who has the delicate sensibilities of a barracuda - told her to shut up and stop looking for attention. I don't care how much she "prepares" us with these portents of doom, nothing could prepare me for the loss of either parent and the mere thought of it rends my heart asunder. A bit of my world would die with them; it doesn't even bear thinking about. So Mammy Gingerbread -  I know you're reading this, and possibly already sobbing into one of the many tissues you store on your person - please stop. You've read enough Louise L. Hay to know the power of thought.

In all, I've learned that it takes a while to learn to be someone's parent. And I think you do it best if you're still someone's child.

8 comments:

Liz said...

What a lovely thought. When we are parents, we can forget that we are the child of someone else.... Hope the wind blew in the end and you got some shut-eye.

Liz

Gracey is not my name.... said...

wow..that is a lovely thought...and I hope baby Gingerbread finally burped and went to sleep..I'm empathetic with that..I've developed heartburn during that time of the month and it keeps me up...I even ended up with a hospital stay because of it...so I sympathize..puir babe...

Petunia Pill said...

I tried to leave a comment on this post much earlier today - but I was on my iPad and hit some key the wrong way and lost everything! I am back now to try again. My earlier comment stated that your Mom needs to stick around for many more years because she needs to get the enjoyment of hearing you have "ah-ha" moments for the next 25 years as things happen with your little one that will shed light on events that happened between you and your Mom as you were growing up. Just this past week, my 24 year old did something that elicited a reaction from me. That reaction FINALLY made me realize why my Mom had done something oh so many years ago - something that I never understood until now and had thought was so unfair. NOW I get it!!!! Motherhood is very enlightening - for many, many years to come. The husband's hand on the thigh...they are ALL the same! LOL Husbands...can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. I SOOOO enjoy your posts...so real, so delightful!!! Hugs, Annette

Playing Hooky said...

Oooh, sorry, I never mean to nag. And talk about pots and kettles, I've not updated my blog since August! I just thought, you used to be a fairly frequent poster and now not so much, and - well, you know!
Glad the littlest gingerbread is thriving, hope you get some quality rest soon. Happy New Year to you and yours.
c

ps - To (not) Gracey - have you tried peppermint oil pills? Husband and I swear by them. Just a thought.

Anne said...

Yes, sleeping upright was a definite pasttime of mine with my son. :) Now I do it for myself! I know what you are saying about your Mom, as I live in a building with many elderly people, more than my 61 years, and I've heard each one of them at one time or another say such things. I wonder if they are just thinking out loud what it would be like. Anyway, all the best and Happy New Year to you and Happy crafting too!!(If you can fit some into your busy life! :)

Jay said...

Oh dear I remember having a very windy baby who cried & cried & cried - once he got over it though he started to sleep for England, & still can! (at nearly 17 years old)I hope you soon start to get more sleep and baby gingerbread too.

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

Amen to your closing sentiment!

Guess you've tried jiggling up and down when rubbing and patting don't work ... not something you can do sitting down mind you, but it used to get them burping here!

Happy New Year Gingerbreads!

Petite Pursuits said...

Lovely post Gingerbread sister! But being the barracuda in question, I object! My genteel manner is universally acknowledged ;)

I hope Baby Gingerbread is behaving himself x