authenticity

8 Aug

So far in my parenting experience, I haven’t spent much time around people whose parenting styles differ greatly from mine. Of course — we find people who validate what we know. Or “know.” Whatever. I knew (“knew”) that our trip to see Nathan’s family would bring about the first situation where our choices would be repeatedly questioned, albeit in what I anticipated would be tolerable ways. We are raising George, communicating with George, even being around George in ways very different than Nathan’s family are used to seeing, let alone doing. I can handle it; I am confident in my choices. Right? RIGHT.
Cue the “tips,” on the way home from the airport. Poor George was overtired from his long day of charming everyone half to death and trying to discern if that bizarre smile plastered on his mother’s face was genuine or meant “I am trying not to give you the impression that I am waiting for our impending grisly death.” He needed to sleep. And oh, George’s attributes are many and varied but his sleeping habits are not exactly a selling point if we’re being honest.
“He might surprise you,” Nathan’s mom kept saying, suggesting repeatedly that we just buckle the poor kid back into the carseat that held him captive all day. The thing is, he might’ve — sure. He also might’ve chosen to, rather than sleep, start reciting Shakespeare while strapped into said carseat on the ride home. I didn’t care to test my child one more time on what had already been a very long and very stressful day for all of us.
“I think he might surprise you,” she said one last time. “You would be wrong,” Nathan replied, and we went to Target while Nathan slung George for a nap. Go team.

We did, however, have to get back in the car eventually, and he 25 minute nap at Target was so, SO insufficient. The whining let to hooting led to whimpering led to hey-I-really-mean-it-I’m-about-to-cry. So I shushed. Nathan’s mom kept saying, “He’ll be fine.” (Like, I am sitting 3 inches away but I should just let him cry?)
But I shushed him and shushed and shushed until long after everyone had decided I was annoying and crazy and George was finally asleep, having been put in that state as gently as I could put him while seatbelted, myself. I was proud of my authenticity, my commitment to my child in that moment, glad to have chosen caring for him over convenience or the culture of the car or suggestion or self-consciousness. Us:2 World:0

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