The Newborn Diaries: How To Fake Being A Parent In Control

24/10/2010 19:57 | Updated 22 May 2015

I feel like my life as a parent is a Potemkin village: on the surface, I look semi-capable, my baby is calm and we are getting into some sort of groove. Peel back the curtain and it's all a big façade; I'm hanging on by a thread and baby Diana is pulling the strings.

Baby D could win an Academy Award for her consistently stellar public performances (minus her mistaking-a-dress-for-a-nappy scenario). It's amazing: in a group setting she'll either peacefully sleep throughout so as not to disturb the meal or gathering, or she engages with company courtesy of wide-eyed gazing and the occasional charming smile. She's completely angelic and blissful to be around.

Of course I pretend this is the case 24/7, because who doesn't want to seem like an awesome parent who has figured out motherhood in weeks? And do I really want to admit that not only was I already being bossed around by Bolshy the bulldog, but now I'm also completely at the mercy of baby D's whims? I don't think so...

Some of the cracks in my veneer of competent parenting? I have no clue how to get my baby to sleep at night, unless my breast is in the equation. I never tried swaddling because the midwife told me not to, and I've never rocked the baby to get her to sleep. I just offer the boob, every time. This seems to work, except apparently, in an ideal world, the baby will go to sleep on her own, in her own bed. As in, without a parent rocking her or a breast feeding her. I cannot imagine this world but I would love to live in it; unfortunately, it will require starting all of this new mum stuff over again and will entail the repetition of many sleepless nights and lots more tears. So I've just resigned myself to my slightly dysfunctional "routine."

Lately, the breast dependency means that Diana will latch on for dear life and absolutely refuse to let go, even when she's fallen asleep. Attempting to move her results in a lot of screaming, and I think the new parent mentality is to do whatever it takes to prevent crying (at least, that's my mentality). Which means the only way Diana is sleeping is within inches of the nipple.

While initially the co-sleeping thing was meant to be a temporary solution, you could tell all hope was lost for us when we actually bought a safety guard so Diana wouldn't fall out of the bed. Oh, and when we started using the Moses basket in our room as a hamper for dirty clothes, and when the cot in Diana's room started to house all of the different species of soft toys she has (she still hasn't been in that cot). The thing is - and I'm not sure if this is something to proud of or annoyed with myself about - she actually sleeps, and on a semi-predictable schedule, usually from about 1 am to 5:30 or 6 am.

So I find myself in this really strange position: I know that I'm doing pretty much everything wrong, but it's kind of working.

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