But, first, a word from our sponsors... AKA, another riveting series of lessons in the ongoing saga, Adventures in Motherhood!
1). Everyone... and I do mean everyone has an opinion. Laila's grandmothers, my grandmothers, random grandmothers, friends with babies, friends without babies, grocery store check out people, even the occasional bachelor friend seems to have an opinion. Controversial topics in which people feel the need to share their opinion include, but are not limited to:
a. Sleep Training: ie, To "let her cry it out" or to not "let her cry it out", that is the question.
b. Natural or Normal: ie, making one's own formula, wipes, baby toys, using cloth or disposable diapers, using only California Baby-no paraben-chemical free-sensitive skin-unscented baby wash or using the good ole Johnson and Johnson's, using organic cotton crib sheets or regular ole 100 thread count crib sheets from Target... the list goes on and on, my friends.
c. Vaccinations: No explanation needed but I will say, in all seriousness, that this one has me stumped. There are "experts" on both sides of the issue who act as though their way will save your child from early death! It's too much for me! I'm a bleary eyed, second guessing, opinion sorting new mom, people! I'm overwhelmed as it is!
d. The Use or Non-Use of the Pacifier and, for the record, we use it. Boy, do we. We use it with glee.
2). Murphy's Law Applies
Okay, so I'm actually not totally sure what Murphy's Law is. I just know people are always chalking things up to "Murphy's Law" and saying things like, "well, that's just Murphy's Law", etc. etc. Here's out it plays out in my life. No matter if she ate two hours ago, no matter if she already spit up half of what I fed her, no matter if she hasn't actually spit up in days, if I put Laila down on my gold silk duvet, she will spit up. Murphy's Law, people. Murphy's Law.
3). Vocabulary is Key.
For example, when I lay down with Laila at naptime and get really still and close my eyes, I'm simply modeling for her how it's done. It's not called "napping", my friends. It's called "Leading by Example". See? It's just a matter of using the right vocabulary.
And, now for the Girl Scout story.
On Monday, Laila and I needed to make a quick trip to Kroger. We only had a short grocery list and I expected to be in and out. No problem.
When we pulled into the parking lot, I noticed a big white tent and all manner of sashed and vested little girls loitering around. Having been a Girl Scout dropout myself, I immediately recognized the green and brown and, truly, who could mistake that tell tale Peter Pan hat that some of them wear? In true chubby girl fashion, my first thought was cookies and I wondered if I had any cash. Then, as I looked closer, I saw that there were none of those brightly colored boxes stacked up and no signs or posters announcing a cookie sale. Slightly dissapointed but eager to find a parking spot, I moved on, not giving those do gooding scouts another thought.
Laila and I parked, grabbed a basket and started out in the produce department like always. Well, by the time we got to the cereal aisle, I knew that Laila had done some Business in her diaper. Not only can I tell by the smell, which is kind of hideous (seriously, how does someone so adorable have the capacity to emit such a nasty odor?), but I can tell because Laila works, I mean, really works to accomplish this feat. I've asked the pediatrician and he said that she's not constipated... just dramatic (wonder where she gets that) and she never cries so I don't really worry about it anymore. Instead, I usually have to laugh... because, well, she turns red. Really red. Like, that baby in The Incredibles who turns into a fire ball.
When she's 12, nobody tell her I posted this picture on the Internet, okay?
So... as you can see, it's kind of hard to miss.
Also, she really only goes once a day, sometimes only once every couple of days so it's always, hmm... how shall I say?... full. This is not one of those "just wait till we get home" kind of situations so, off we went to the Kroger restroom. I parked the buggy outside the door, threw the diaper bag over my shoulder, grabbed the car seat by the handle and opened the bathroom door. The little girl chitter chatter that I heard while I was parking the buggy ceased completely. Twelve little girl heads all turned from what they were doing and stared at me, one particularly pretty little blonde Scout standing in the middle of it all crying dramatically. Twenty four little eyes looked at me as if to say, "Excuse us! We're in the middle of something here!" I was literally shoo'ed by their expressions. I stared back at them for a moment, scanning the crowd for one who would be sympathetic to my cause and initiate the parting of the waters but no such little advocate was found. I was clearly on their turf and they weren't budging.
"Uh, sorry." I said, as I backed out the way I came in. As the door shut behind me, I noticed that the girls resumed their coddling of The Pretty One, patting her back, stroking her ponytail and saying, "It's going to be okay".
The scene took me back to my Elementary school days when there were definitely clearly established identities among us. There was a Pretty One, a Smart One, a Nerdy One, an Athletic One... and, just like in that Kroger bathroom, anytime drama befell the Pretty One, all of us Other Ones rushed to her aid, wanting to be the One who was most comforting, most helpful, truly, wanting to be the One who was most involved. I thought about how, in Elementary school, I was probably labeled the Nice One, which, as I considered it, wasn't too shabby. Lots of times I wished I was the Pretty One, the Well Dressed One or the Athletic One but that just wasn't my lot.
As I changed Laila's poopy diaper on the backseat of my car in the Kroger parking lot, I started to think about which One she might become. My hope is that she will be the Kind One, the Gracious One, the Funny One and the Loving One but, most importantly, I pray that God will show me how to teach her that her identity doesn't depend on what she's labeled or what others think of her. I pray that she will know her worth as a Daughter of the King, a precious Child of God and that she will love others in a way that helps them recognize that about themselves as well.
Whew. As a Mother/Daughter team, we have a lot ahead of us. I'm humbled by all that God is going to use me to teach her. God, equip us for this journey. Make me a godly leader as we go. Prepare the way, Lord. I'm trusting you. Hold my hand, Father... especially if she chooses to be a Girl Scout.