I had a nephew for a while. The things I learned from that experience are too many to name, but one of the more worrisome is that adults screw kids over for the sake of other adults all the time, even though it’s the kids who need someone to stand up for them.
Every time some baby’s nap gets all screwed up because a well-meaning adult wants to visit, it’s because the adults’ desires were prioritized over the kid’s needs. The adult might have been miffed, but the poor kid is melting into a puddle of misery because of a screwy schedule and not enough sleep. Kid should have won! In my nephew’s case, things were far, far worse than miffed feelings or a screwy schedule, but suffice it to say I learned that every kid needs an adult in their corner to choose their needs over the adults’ whims, and like I was his, I will be my son’s.
Of this, I know. What I didn’t realize at the time was that sometimes the uglier the situation, the easier the choices.
Today, I’m hiding out at the library with a tear-stained face after being banished from my house by my well-meaning husband. An hour into CIO with my sweet son who wouldn’t nap, I was sent away because Joey was spending more time convincing me he was doing it right than, well, doing it right.
And look, I get the need for CIO, and we’ve done it before, but lately I just can’t deal. Turns out it is much harder to stomach when the kid can talk than before, when it was just crying. In Joey’s defense, Javi was dry and fed and comfy, had the right blanket and right paci and right white noise/ room temp/ darkness level. In mine, goodness, is a nap worth all of that drama?
So I was asked to leave, and the fifteenth time, I did.
But I don’t know if I’m appropriately deferring to my husband, who is a great dad and really loves Javi, or whether I’m screwing my kid by deferring to the other adult and not fighting for the kid. I don’t know whether I should have just walked in and laid down with my sad 18-month old, spousal outrage be damned.
I just don’t know. I know I love my son and I’d do anything for him, even defer to his dad when his dad seems certain he’s doing the right thing, but I struggle with the little decisions, the this day or that hour or just this once that I worry will add up into a trend of fail.