20 Mar An Interesting Ride
Five days in and we’re still on a pretty steep learning curve. We learned many useful things in training, including a technique for soothing small infants called “The Five S’s”. The “shushing”, which is S number three, doesn’t always work with our Little Attitude Dude (LAD for short) but the swaddling and swaying is a big hit. Singing, which, curiously, is not one of the five S’s, has also been a pretty effective soother, but we are often quite literally at a loss for words– as in, what’s the next verse? How does that line go? We have begun to consider posting the lyrics to a few choice favorites on the wall of the nursery just so we’ll be able to reference them later in our sleep-deprived state.
So far, our experience has been quite positive. This LAD is crazy cute, full of personality, and easy to love. We have already seen signs of progress in the five days we have had him. His color is better, he’s gaining weight, and he’s starting to achieve developmental milestones like focusing on faces and holding up his head. Seeing this progress in such a short time makes us feel victorious and proud, and motivates us to work even harder so as to really knock these curveballs out of the park.
I will say, though, that it’s not all duckies and bunnies and cute Easter outfits. Certainly, the physical demands of “the job” can be draining– 2 am feedings, fussy baby wanting to be rocked for hours on end, managing our own self-care in the midst of all this change and new responsibility, etc.– but these things don’t actually seem like the hard part. The hard part has thus far turned out to be having this entire constellation of adults involved and not being able to figure out who to trust, about what, or how far.
County workers, bio-parents, pediatricians, foster parents and respite providers who had this kid before we did all have had some part to play in this Compelling Family Drama and all know something about what has been going on prior to our taking care of LAD. Will they tell us what they know? (Will it matter if they don’t?) Is their judgment to be trusted on this or that issue? Should we act on their advice or adopt their logic, follow their lead? When we get information that seems germane to the proper care of this child and one person’s version contradicts or fails to corroborate someone else’s version, which version wins the prize for What’s Worth Believing, Remembering, or Acting On?
Advice from well-meaning people bombards us on every side, but does not necessarily provide clarity or relief. We have good judgment all on our own and trust it explicitly, but we also want to be open to other ideas and constructive feedback. After all, there are many ways to “raise a child right”. From one day to the next, we’re pretty sure that we are doing a good job, but our particular neurosis (and, ahem, strength) is to constantly ask ourselves: Can we do it better? And once we’ve gotten good at “better”: Can we do even better than that?
It’s an interesting ride.