Little W was taken to the ped. yesterday after I noticed a rash on his hands and feet, as well as some marked crankiness. Doctors weren't too concerned with the rash, but told me that he was underweight. In the same sentence, Dr. asked me what I was knitting; she didn't seem overly concerned. A prepared drink was recommended, and we were on our way.
Bear in mind, my son is almost 12 months, and 19 lbs. I am small boned myself, and daddy weighs a mere 145 lbs, soaking wet. W is a charming and wonderful baby; constantly exploring, making us laugh, thriving in every way. He loves his mommy milk; he doesn't have much of an interest in solid foods as of yet, although they are offered three times a day. Fresh, organic fruits, veg, and grains are always on the menu. If he isn't hungry, food is not shoveled into his mouth.
A few hours later, my mother called me. Surprisingly, I was given a firm "talking-to"...notable snippets of conversation include, "I saw him without a shirt the other week, and I was concerned," "you let him chose his sleep schedule", "you're an inexperienced mother", "there's something wrong with a baby who wants to nurse every hour or so", "You aren't feeding him enough and he is very hungry", and (my favorite) "what are you doing? Are you going to move into the woods, make all your clothing, and homeschool your children??" (....heh, heh...)
My mother is a supposed supporter of the natural and holistic health and medicine movement. She is a trained natural chef who resided in Berkely, CA for a short time--the mecca of all things natural and organic!! Why I received a nasty earful from someone with her qualifications is beyond me...
Anger and control have never found a good place in my life. The household I was raised in was hardly ever a peaceful one. I recall lots of red faced screaming, crying, frustration, and helplessness. My mother, raising us on her ownas a young woman,faced a lot of challenges, financially and emotionally. There have been bits of time in the past where we have not spoken...I recall many fond childhood memories, but in the end, I remember a lot of anger. In the past years, she has done quite a lot of work on "herself" to be at peace...to look past being angry...leaps and bounds would be an understatement. So, where does this leave me?
I am an attached parent. My child has never been left to cry. I have cared for him at the breast, and will continue to do so. We practice a "rhythm", rather than a rigid schedule. I favor natural materials over anything plastic or artificial. I share sleep with my son in the most cozy and comforting family bed. My parenting style differs vastly from that of my mother. In the end, she pays me many compliments, but unkind words sting and are not easily forgotten.
While on the phone yesterday, receiving this criticism, I felt the urge to yell back. Scream, shout, hang up, curse....write her off for a good long while. Deep breaths. Recognizing the anger I felt inside of me, and willing it to leave. Understanding that this was akin to a storm that would pass. Listening to someone who felt the need to be heard, overall, as a concerned grandparent and mother herself. The conversation eventually slowed....apologies were said and plans were made for the next day. In the end, I know that my new found ability to remain calm and collected saved me from speaking out in anger; something everyone in my family has done for years and years.
My son inspires me every day. He challenges me to grow as a woman, mother and wife. I look to him and somehow understand that my actions will eventually become a part of him. I am worthy and in need of change and growth....for my family. This was a first step.
How do we deal with the anger that wells up inside of us? The frustration, envy, greed? I went to our local health food store last night to peruse the aisles and get lost for a bit. As I entered, I looked at the community board...at once, my eyes focused on this wonderfully ironic short Cherokee story, which was posted:
A grandson told of his anger at a schoolmate who had done him an injustice. Grandfather said: "Let me tell you a story." "I, too, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But, hate wears you down and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times. It is as if there are two wolves inside me: one is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way. But the other wolf is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights with everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of then try to dominate my spirit." The boy looked intently into his grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather?" The grandfather solemnly replied, "The one I feed."
I felt instantly revived. The written word can do such wonders for the mind and soul. I returned home to feed my son, in any way his little heart so desired....