Still running for the cheese (or why this blog still exists)

As my regular readers can tell, this has been a dry year for me. Just look at the number of posts this year vs. 2008! Awhile back, I had considered either shutting down the Maze, or starting a new blog that would more accurately reflect where I am in life now. Truth be told, sometimes I come here, look around, and feel distinctly hypocrytical about the things I want to write. I'm sure I'm not the only one to ever be in that kind of place.
As the time in between posts has grown longer, I came to realize something. Without the past years' material, where I am now makes very little sense. What good is the destination without the journey? As Christians, so much of the best stuff that happens to us is in the times God is molding us to His image. To throw away the evidence of that process would somehow cheapen the result, I think.
So, here we are, dear friends. I think my little mousie may just have rounded a corner finally. Some things will change around here to reflect the changes in my heart. And you know what? That's ok. As much as I typically rage against anything changed in my life, I'm learning to accept the God-given ones. My prayer is that some of you may be encouraged by what you read here. Hey, you may even be challenged. And of course, if you know me, then you know you always stand a good chance of being offended too. Not intentionally, to be sure! Just know that what you find as you wander this Maze with me may surprise you as much as it does me.

All that to say this:

Welcome to

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Confessions of a confused parent

As Ladybug's birth approaches, I find myself in the completely unenviable position of having to re-evaluate my parenting practices. Urgh. Don't you wish you were me right about now?
Our boys were born when I was quite young, 20 and 22 respectively. The only thing Mr. P. and I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that we wanted for our parenting style was to do the polar opposite of our parents. That hasn't changed.
When MonkeyMan was on the way, we read up on pregnancy and birth...and that was about it. I don't think it crossed our minds that there were "theories" to parenting, or that how you choose to raise your kids will invariably slap a label on not only them but yourselves as well. Ah, innocent ignorance. We ended up parenting "instinctively", or as I prefer to describe it, we didn't have a clue. I realize many parents chose this consciously. We did not.
With both boys, we did what felt right and appropriate. We did not know that we were basically AP parents until a few years later. We co-slept. We "bottle nursed". We held our kids near constantly. We responded to every cry, and we did not CIO.
Then DCF arrived. It didn't take long for us to figure out that they wanted us to change not only our housekeeping ways but everything we felt good about in our parenting. Don't hold the baby, he's manipulating you. Don't carry your toddler, he needs to learn independence. Get a bigger apartment, sharing a room is abuse. You get the picture. We didn't know it at the time, but this is what most people call "mainstream parenting". (As a side note, a quick search will net you almost nothing helpful in defining a mainstream parent. Well, except that mainstream parents don't love their kids as much apparently. Food for thought- if being "mainstream" is going against the cultural norms for your area, does what defines "mainstream" change with location? For instance, if everyone in your area breastfeeds, would you be considered mainstream for doing so, and "alternative" for not?)
After DCF closed our case, we had a choice. Do we go back to parenting by instinct, or do we do "what's right" and keep up what we're doing? I can't speak for Mr. P. but I was scared out of my mind. If we went back to our old ways, that would guarantee a new case, wouldn't it? So we kept on with following the mainstream parenting techniques we'd learned from the state. After awhile, it didn't bother me anymore. After all, parenting school aged kids is very different than parenting infants and toddlers. Right?
Which bring me back to the beginning. I'm still scared out of my mind. I wish it could be as easy as some of my friends have said. "Just follow your instincts and you'll be fine!" But when your instincts have contributed to having lost your kids in the past, can you really trust them? I feel completely at a loss. The only thing I've really learned while researching my options is that DCF traumatized me far more than I ever realized. Will I be able to hold Ladybug for more than a few seconds without fearing a knock at the door for my babe in arms? What about naps, bedtime, feeding, trips out and about, and all the other aspects of daily life with a new baby? I just don't know.
Mr. P. seems pretty laid back about it all. He has said that we'll parent Ladybug just like we did with our boys. And part of me rejoices at that. How much easier would it be to stick with what you know? Then again, part of me quakes inside. How can I ensure that nurturing my baby won't bring DCF to my door once again? Living with fear is definitely not cool, nor is it a great way to decide the course of your family's life.
I also can't help but wonder if I should take a deeper look at how I raise my sons as well. Would making a switch for the whole family be a good thing, or asking for trouble? Should I give DCF a call to get answers, or would that be more or less like inviting them to reopen on us? My hope and prayer is that we can get this figured out before she is born. That, and praying DCF doesn't have some strange "AP parent sense" tingling right about now.

Til next squeak,

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