3 Things by Alyssa Hertzig, The Sparkly Life
Three years ago, my daughter Sadie was seven months old and still hadn’t mastered the art of sleeping for more than two hours at a time.
I was exhausted and desperate, but reluctant to sleep train her, terrified of the “cry it out” method.
One afternoon, I was on the phone with my best friend Dana, complaining about the situation.
“I can’t do it,” I told her. “I know that Sadie needs to learn to sleep, but it’s too hard—I can’t just let her cry.”
That’s when Dana said a simple sentence that has stuck with me ever since: “But you’re the parent,” she said. “And even when it’s hard, you have to be the parent.”
Seems obvious, but it’s easy to forget—especially in a scary or difficult moment. I’m no longer the frightened little girl who can just call for mommy when the going gets tough. I’m the mommy now—and I have my own little girl (and, since two months ago, a little boy, too!) depending on me.
I was put to the test a few months later when Sadie had a febrile seizure, which brought us to the ER in the middle of the night. We were told that our tiny little baby needed to have her blood drawn — and I was distraught.
Now I’m no fan of needles coming in contact with my own limbs, but for babies it’s a zillion times worse. To keep them still, they are strapped down onto these medieval looking straightjacket contraptions, one arm left exposed and vulnerable. The moment my daughter was locked in and about to be stuck (screaming all the while of course), I sobbed to my husband I had to leave the room—that I couldn’t take seeing her like that.
I started towards the door, then stopped suddenly when I remembered those six words: “You have to be the parent.” And I knew then that I had to turn around.
My daughter was scared and upset and she needed her mommy. Sure, it was upsetting for me, but it was a much bigger deal for her. I needed to suck it up. I was the parent now. And I needed to act like it.
Ever since, this has been my mantra — and it will continue to be.
No matter how tough it is or how temporarily unpopular it makes me with my kids, I will always remember to be the parent.
When your kid says something funny or sweet or particularly clever, write it down.
You think you’ll remember that adorable thing your daughter said months from now, but unfortunately you probably won’t.
I find baby books to be a bit of a chore, so I have an open Word document on my computer called, “Sadie Says the Darndest Things.”
Every time she blurts out one of her gems, I quickly type it (and the date) into this running list. Maybe one day I’ll compile them into a book for her. Or maybe I’ll spend the eve of her eighteenth birthday pouring over the list, bawling, and wondering where the time went.
Either way, I’ll be glad I have it.
I am completely obsessed with the Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper. It works as both a baby seat for hanging out or napping during the day, as well as a cradle at night.
Since it keeps the head elevated similar to a car seat, both of my babies slept so much better in it compared to a flat surface. Plus it’s lightweight and folds flat easily, so you can tote it from room to room or take it on car trips. It’s amazing.
In fact, at this moment, my son, Nate, is napping in it right next to me, and I’m gently rocking it with my foot as I type. How awesome is that?