All babies sleep in cribs, I was sure. I am not going to be my child’s playmate. I am going to be his parent, I was confident. All the firsts, first smiles, first birthdays, first steps, first haircuts, will be full of joy and only joy, I assumed. All I need to do is find the right book to help me understand my baby’s sleep and we will all be well rested. All I need to do is find the right book period and my every parenting question will be answered, I took for granted.
Now I know that some babies just cannot be put down for naps or bedtime. Now I know that there are many ways and places for sleep to happen. Now I know that to play is to parent. Now I know in my heart the great joy of firsts, but I also know that the joy of firsts can be tinged with sadness. Now I know that there is no book out there that can teach me better about my baby’s sleep than he can. And well rested? Now I have an inkling there may be no such thing as a parent, no matter the age of the child. Now I know there is no book period, no matter how helpful it is, that can teach me better about H than H himself can.
Maybe I knew nothing despite all the things I thought I knew, but it doesn’t matter now. H teaches me every day everything I need to know about parenting him, often throwing in an extra credit lesson for me about myself. He always shows up and he never gives up on me, no matter how many times I need the lesson repeated. He is a most excellent teacher, the best at showing me who I am and who I want to be, both as a parent and as a human being.