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Bad Mommy

5 Apr

I’m a terrible mother. I’ve heard time and time again what I should and should not do with and to my kid for the first year of her life, and I’ve ignored 90% of the advice. Some of it even came from reliable sources like my pediatrician or Daisy, and I still gave two shits. Here are some of the things I’ve done wrong, and my neurotic justifications for why I did them:

1. I gave the baby my iPhone.

Know why? Because she would obsessively watch me use it. I found a fantastic *free* app – AlphaBaby –  and let her rip. She loves touching the screen and watching letters and numbers appear. She loves manipulating their sizes and moving them around the screen. It’s a great distraction on long car rides, or while waiting at the auto repair shop. The other day, Pterodactyl figured out how to exit the app, and proceeded to open a text message to her father and send him some rather eloquent texts. My favorite was the picture message of her knee and her musings on “poooooooosstwb3nt.”

2. I turned on the TV.

Like Mommy Man wrote in his (hyperlinked for your convenience) blog post, baby TV is NOT the root of all evil. There are several practical uses, such as allowing Mommy to pee without having to protect the roll of toilet paper from a destructive 11 month old, or vacuuming up Cheerios without having to simultaneously entertain a baby. I even busted out the Netflix on my iPhone for long-distance drives when the kid was a little too squirmy for the car seat. Know what? She sat still and enjoyed the rest of the trip.My kid loves Elmo. Elmo sings the alphabet. Ergo, my kid sings the alphabet. That’s right. And even though I’m a certified English teacher, I take zero credit for that. Elmo is the magic man behind the ABCs.

3. I gave her sugar.

I know what you’re thinking: “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? YOUR KID WILL GROW UP TO BE OBESE AND NEED GASTRIC BYPASS SURGERY WHEN SHE’S 11!” But my kid was eye-fucking my ice cream, and I wanted to share a little bite with her. I justified it by remembering that it was the brand with 5 ingredients: milk, sugar, eggs, etc. She loved it. A little too much. Like a drug addict getting a fix, too much. Oh well. I’ve cut her off until the cake at her first birthday party.

4. I let her nap on my body. Regularly.

Every little old lady I pass in the grocery store reminds me to enjoy this time with Pterodactyl, because it flies by too quickly. Well, you know what? I don’t think she’ll fit on my chest when she’s seven. So I’m cuddling the hell out of my kid while she still wants to, and while I can do so without snapping a vertebrae. Does that make her a slightly dependent sleeper? Probably. But I’m pretty sure Violet Fifteen Years From Now will thank me for this cuddle time.

5. I’ve done other, miscellaneous, controversial shit.

I formula-feed my kid. (Insert snarky lecture from judgmental breast-feeding parents here.) I recently integrated Cry It Out into our sleep routines. (Insert snarky lecture from judgmental anti-CIO parents here.) My kid is svelte and healthy, and she now can fall asleep without an hour of rocking and shhhhing. Actually, I can now put her in the crib and walk away, and she’s out within five minutes. Winning!

Time will tell if any of these “Bad Mommy” behaviors will fuck up my kid in the long-term. I’m prepared to pay her therapy bills if that’s the case. All I know for now is that we live in the moment, putting health and happiness above other concerns. Sometimes that means we watch Big Bird Journey to Ernie. Sometimes that means giving the kid a bite of my strawberry ice cream. Sometimes, that means bringing her into our bed and napping as a family. If this time passes too quickly, and I may mourn the loss of this phase one day, I’m going to make the best out of it while I’m here.

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