I was intrigued when my cell group mate excused herself and then went into one of the rooms to nurse him and put him to bed. When she returned, she apologised for her 'departure' and shared that her son is not used to noise and light hence she had to go into a quiet room.
I recalled sharing then that when it is my turn, I will make sure that my child will be exposed to light and sounds so that she can sleep anywhere. HA! Shows you how much I know and what an annoying twit I was.
Well, 'karma' has certainly come around and taken a nip of me in the butt. Dumpling was anything but an easy baby. Despite having the best well-laid plans of letting her be exposed to light and sounds while putting her to bed, she would literally fussed for 2 hours and still be awake! Finally, after weeks of battling it out, I gave up. With my tail between the legs and head looking to the floor (not to mention arrogance out the door), Dumpling was quietly carried to a room with blinds down and where there is little sound and put to bed.
I look back at moments like these and laugh. What a smart-mouthed chit I was. I am surprised that my GF did not give me the finger or the boot out of the apartment then. Years on and now that I have a demanding, inquisitively active and sassy-mouthed kid (hmmm I wonder where she got that from...) I realised that I have grown up quite a bit.
I was at Pizza Hut near my place last year and there was a mum with 3 young kids (look to be 2 preschoolers and 1 toddler) with the hubs nowhere in sight. The mum looked frazzled, tired and very tightly wound up. The eldest child was not eating properly and was playing with her food. Frazzled mum talked to her nicely and the child started to whine and fuss and whined some more. She pushed the food around and started making a din at the restaurant with the cutlery and plates. The middle child then modeled her actions, started to throw food around and somehow started 'fighting' with the eldest kid. The eldest child did not stop despite the mum asking her to. The infant began to cry. The mum lost it. She snapped, yelled in the restaurant and pulled the eldest kid by the ear out of the restaurant. Hubs was still nowhere in sight. Everyone was just staring at them. I caught some remarks on her parenting style. But at that moment, I felt sorry for her. And no, I am not just saying that so that I look good here. But she truly looked like she had a really tough day and the kids' antics must have been the straw that broke her back.
I was 'judged' from the moment Dumpling was out and around in the neighbourhood when she was all but 2 weeks old. The neighbourhood aunties would 'tsk tsked' me for being out (I had to get out of the house as I was battling PND then) or perhaps it was because I, too, have lost it on many counts where I threw tantrums of my own while Dumpling threw hers. I learnt that while mummydom develops me as a person, it also does bring out the worst in me.
Every family has its parenting style and while it may not be 'textbook perfect' (ohhhh how easy Gina Ford painted it for me!) as long as it works for that family, who am I to judge? Of course there are often times when I feel that a particular child could have benefited from better habits (perhaps being read to more often, etc.) but I learnt to let it slide and zip up my mouth (before someone hands me the glue) as it is not my 'battle' to win.
What do I know and who am I to judge with the different family dynamics? After all, karma has definitely come round my way and may just be lurking around the corner for the next nip!