I am not sure which is a bigger deal…Getting over the worst bout of jet lag we have ever experienced OR the fact that my beautiful baby girl has begun to sit unassisted!
So, I am pretty new to this mom thing. For the most part, I feel pretty dang comfortable in the role. I feel like I have been waiting my whole life to become a mother. I felt pretty prepared for it all. However, in the past nine months I have lived with more worry than my previous 29 years. I knew this would happen, I just didn’t realize how much a mother worries. Is my baby eating enough? What’s that rash? How many times will I wake up tonight to poke her to make sure she’s breathing? Is this poop normal?
Add a diagnosis where doctors, books, therapists, society are constantly telling you your daughter will be developmentally delayed…and “No, we can’t tell you even a window as to when she will reach milestones, we don’t know if she will speak, etc. etc. etc….” As much as I try to live life day-to-day, trying to celebrate the present, and knowing that Annie will get there on her own time, there are days that I can’t help but worry with much anxiety and anticipation for the day that she can do the things we are working so hard to make sure she can do.
In the past three months, Annie and I have been from Rome to the US and back 3 times. I am not sure how many of you have experienced jet lag, but it’s nothing compared to having a jet lagged baby. With each trip, because Annie is getting older and sleeping less during the day, the jet lag worsens. Chicago is 7 hours behind Rome time, so when we return to Rome, Annie will be up til around 5 or 6 a.m. and then sleep for her normal 9-10 hours. When we returned on New Year’s after our last trip, Annie was up until 6 a.m. for ten days straight. When this happens, as you can imagine, it takes a toll on all three of us. And with every trip to the states, we are missing out on Annie’s therapy sessions and then when we return we have to wait for her to get back on schedule to pick up where we left off. Enter: worried, guilty mom.
Is the fact that we are missing therapy sessions hurting her? Are we delaying her development even more? For months we’ve been working on trying to get Annie to sit. And for the first few months I wasn’t worried. We worked with her everyday, and I knew she’d get there on her own accord. But when we returned in November after a three week visit with my family, I noticed an enormous lull in her progress. I started to freak out and obsess (something I promised myself I would never do). I cried and made a huge deal out of nothing…”if she doesn’t sit, she can’t crawl. If she doesn’t crawl, she’ll never walk.” I was making myself nuts and probably Annie too.
We spent nine incredible days in PA for Christmas. I think I left my in-laws’ house 3 times in those nine days, a much needed break. I calmed and collected myself and let go. I’d rather her do it right and sit a year from now than rush her. So we returned to Rome to the nightmare of having a baby on the wrong time zone and I could not have cared less whether she was sitting or not, I just wanted her to sleep. Hell, I just wanted to sleep!
Eventually we got back on schedule. We called Federica (Annie’s AWESOME therapist) and told her we were ready to start up again. This time after our return from the States, I didn’t focus on what Annie wasn’t doing. I let go and had fun. On Annie’s second day back in therapy, she sat unassisted for about a minute. The next morning five! Just hours after I sent this picture to all our family and friends, Annie surprised me and sat for 20 minutes with periods of clapping with hands off the floor for support. Pretty impressive for her first day!
What I’ve learned from all of this is that our children truly feed off our energy and emotions. They turn to us and look for how they should be reacting to what’s going on around them. They know – even more than we do – when we are sad, worried, happy, or in hysterics. If any of you watched the latest episode of Modern Family, they nailed it on the head with Lily’s swearing to cheer up her dad.
Since having Annie, I 100% believe all this. When Annie was first born and I was sad and worried because of her diagnosis, she literally did nothing. She hardly moved, she barely ate, she NEVER once cried. The morning I woke up a with a different attitude and with the epiphany that all I had to do was love my precious baby girl and focus on her and not the DS and let go, she began to interact with us. Not long after that, she finally nursed. The calmer I am, the more she accomplishes. When I worry and obsess, she senses this and shuts down. Annie I am sorry I lost it a bit in November. I’m working on it! And I am so proud of my sitting baby girl!