Monday, July 5, 2010

Bad Parenting 101

Can you really spoil a 2-month old?

We were invited to my husband's family friend's house to celebrate their town's fiesta.  And so we went.  There were many people but all of them are no-strangers to us as we have met them already from previous year's fiesta celebration.  But for Tala, our little Spanish Pinay, all of them are strangers.  They were all happy and excited to see Tala.  Everyone's been commenting how pretty Tala is.  "Oh, look at those eyes".  "Oh look at her color.  She's got skin color like she goes to the beach everyday".  "Oh look at her, she is just so pretty".  People asked me how I am doing as well but I was kind of astonished by the question that they asked me after asking how I am doing after giving birth.  "Is she a good girl?".  Is she a good girl.  I don't exactly know what that means.  Besides, what would a mom tell about her daughter?  "No she's a bad girl".  Would any mom tell that to people about her own child?  With a little confused face, I jokingly told them she is my daughter and she's good to me, so I would say she's a good girl.  And then kidding aside, I told them well, at night she lets me sleep.  Especially lately, she's been sleeping for about 5-6 hours straight.  Then I got approving nods.  I felt I was being judged as a first-time mom.  

After getting passed from one person to another, Tala started crying.  She's tired and sleepy and the last time she ate was like 2.5 hours ago so she must be hungry.  People started looking at her and again, started asking me; "Do you let her get used to being carried?".  I wanted to roll my eyes as I know where this question is going.  But I didn't.  Instead, I put on my warmest smile and said well, I carry her whenever I feel like to and whenever I know she needs me to carry her.  So then the most expected response comes:  "You're spoiling her!".  I just smiled.

I took her from the last person who was carrying her and excused ourselves so I can feed her.  She fell asleep in my arms so husband and I went to put her down on her basinet. 

Lunch was already served so hubby and I went to join the hungry team.  Tala slept until we finished the  main course.  Mother-in-law insisted for me to eat the desserts while she took Tala for a walk.  But Tala started crying so MIL went back and again, insisted that hubby takes Tala while I finish my dessert.  I obeyed.

A woman from the table started talking to my sister-in-law about Tala and about babies.  She's a mom of 2 girls already in their teenage years.  She asked if Tala is used to being carried around.   There we go again to never ending saga.  With a smile, I said she likes being carried that's for sure.  And again, the inevitable answer:  "Well, she shouldn't be carried everytime she cries.  She'll get used to it and you'll be the one to suffer.  Babies are too smart.  They will manipulate you".  Manipulate me.  A 2-month old baby manipulating adults.  Wow.  I just shrugged and then smiled again.   Her conversation with my sister-in-law continued while I focused on my dessert.  She continued on about letting babies cry so they won't get used to being carried, that crying is good for them, that it'll make their lungs stronger, etc.   I swear she's like she has a degree on child psychology and pediatrics.   And she didn't stop.  She asked if Tala is used to pacifiers.  I said she doesn't really like pacifiers.  She would suck on it from time to time but not always.  There she goes: "Well, you have to insist as that is the only way you can calm her.  You have to keep insisting on her".  I was already tired.  So I just said yes.  

After finishing my dessert I went to my husband so I can take Tala from him and then he can have his dessert.  She was not able to have a good nap.  The place was in a festive mood.  Everyone talking, some yelling, people walking back and forth.  Talking to her with their highest-pitched baby talk.  She was passed from one person to another.  She was not really in a good mood.  She started crying again.  I tried to sleep her but then with the noise around, she'd wake up.  Her godfather took her from me and Tala started crying.  People kept on telling me let her cry, let her cry.  It's good for her.  Since I didn't want them to tag me as a spoiler-mom or someone stubborn who doesn't listent to experts I let Tala cry in the arms of her godfather.  With all these people telling me what I should and should not do, I felt like a new mom who has no idea what parenting is.  Everybody's telling me what to do and telling me it's my fault why Tala is cries when held by someone else.  Listening to my baby's cry, I cried even more... inside.

At last, it's time to go home.  Tala was really, really not in a good mood and started crying in the car going home.  We reached home and she started to feel better.  She started smiling and playing with us.  Time for sleep.  I started feeding her.  She was moving a lot and looked like she wasn't comfortable at all.  She normally sleeps easily at night... but this time she was looking so nervous, arching her back, scrunching, moving her arms frantically.  She didn't have her complete nap in the afternoon and she's tired from all the crying and passing I'm pretty sure.  This is making her so uncomfortable.  It took me more than an hour to sleep her.  Like a hawk, I watched her sleep and suddenly moving like she's being startled by something but she'd go back to sleep.  She was like that for 15 minutes until she finally awoke.  I started crying.  I know my baby's not feeling good.  I just knew that crying-it-out didn't do her good.  I blamed myself for listening to the experts.  Hubby came to the rescue and took Tala in his arms.  Tala felt calm and secure... in 4 minutes, she fell asleep.  Sound asleep. I sighed with relief.

I told myself, no more letting Tala cry-it-out.  We just both suffer.  If attending to her every cry and needs means spoiling her, then let her be spoiled.  She only has 2 months, for crying out loud.  At this point in her life she needs love and care more than discipline.  My baby cries, precisely because she's a baby.  Why does a mom with a crying baby seems to have a big sign on her forehead saying "I'm a first time mom who doesn't have any idea how to rear a child properly, advice from everybody please!"  Tremendous.

From now on, I'll try to listen more to my own instinct.  For the sake of our little Spanish Pinay and for my sanity's sake.  A mother knows best, after all.

Bad parenting 101: Listening to every well-meaning unsolicited advisers and letting be pushed over about how you should take care of your own child.


  1. Gosh, Lhot... I hate that feelings of being told what to do. I admire how you handled their "expert advice" and "suggestions". But don't be too hard on yourself. You may be a new mom, but you will be your own expert in taking care of your kid. You already are.

  2. thanks, Annmarie! I was actually dying inside!

  3. Lhot, I found time to read your blog and love it, as always, :-) I was touched by how strong you are as a mother to be able to know what's best for your child despite being a new mom!

    I know this is a little outdated, but I just want to let you know you are doing great being a new mom. You just follow your instinct and listen to Tala and you both will be fine. Never mind those "experts". For me, they are expert in giving us confusion.

    As a mom myself, I would rather teach my child to find ways to be happy and content (even if people label it as spoiling them) than teaching them how to be sad all the time. I"d rather teach them how to tend to someone who emotionally need them, than teach them not to care because they are "manipulative".

    Again, you're on the right track! I'm sure Tala treasure you for you are the best! And I'm pretty sure, like you, who was showered with love by your mom, she will learn to be one in her time. I believe our job is to make our children happy and content and we can only do that when we know how to express and show them our love without fear and hesitation.

    Enjoy motherhood, it is the most rewarding "job" ever!

    Take care and God Bless!


  4. Thanks, Janice! It's really comforting to hear other moms who understands other moms. I've seen you with Cade and he is very attached to you I know Tala will be like him as she is being showered with all the care and attention that she needs :) Miss you!


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