Today, Harper is 8 weeks old. It is amazing to me how much she has changed over the past weeks. Her eyes are open and she's alert to her surroundings. She's been focusing on things and spending more time using her neck and arm muscles. She's been holding herself up when we put her on her stomach and she's starting to roll over. She hasn't made it all the way yet, but she's getting there.
I am also amazed at how she has changed our lives. I know people say that your life will never be the same, but I didn't quite believe them. I simply cannot remember what it was like to not have a child. It's been barely 2 months but it seems like she has been with us forever. I don't even remember ever sleeping through the night...
I think also that my over-protectiveness (is that even a word?) has gotten a little bit out of control. On the way back from Philadelphia a few weeks ago, we stopped at a rest stop to change Harper. After doing so, Sara passed her off to me so she could use the facilities. While standing outside the bathroom, holding Harper, a man walked up and exclaimed on how cute she was. He was a typical rest stop stranger, with a dirty baseball cap, fatigue jacket, torn jeans, and 6 days worth of stubble. I politely thanked him and turned around to walk away. He followed us a few steps and tried to continue the conversation. With a hand outstretched, he asked how old she was. My reply, which apparently was back by a hint of fire in my eyes was "Old enough to have boundary issues."
I've also been short with some family members, who will remain nameless, who seem to think that they know more about raising my daughter than I do. This may be the case, what with them having more children than I currently have. I recognize that they have experience and certainly have the best interest of my child in mind, but Sara and I need to work things out for ourselves. Everyone and their mother wants to offer advice and tell us what we should and should not do, when we should and should not feed her, how we should and should not hold her, etc...
While I appreciate their desire to help, advice that is unasked for, is unwanted. When we want help, world, I promise you, we will ask for it. There are many things that we don't know and we freely admit that, but there are many things that have come naturally to us and we have figured out on our own. We are also freely consulting doctors and baby research. You know, experts, rather than relying on old wives' tales.
To be clear, not everyone has perpetrated these annoyances upon us. One example, but certainly not the only one, has been my mother. She has been fantastic through the entire pregnancy, birth and subsequent raising. She never offers advice unless we ask for it, unless it is prefaced with "Can I make a suggestion?" Even then, if I say no, she gracefully bows out and lets me figure it out or make my mistakes on my own.
I think part of this is due to the fact that she lives 280 miles from us and doesn't want to detract from our visits. She is just so happy to see us and spend time with us. "Us"... Who am I kidding? She's just happy to spend time with her granddaughter. Another part of it is that she and I talked at length about this exact problem weeks before Harper was born. I think she really understands my concerns about this particular topic. I've tried to be less violent in my response with family members than I have with strangers, but my patience is wearing thin.
Again, I want to say that my mom is not alone in this respect. There have been many people who have been respectful of how we want to raise Harper and I am appreciative of all of them.
In my parental insanity, I have conceived of an invention. It is a blanket that makes Harper invisible to whomever I don't want looking at her. I love showing her off, but I am also tired of charging across crowded rooms to scream at strangers that they are unworthy to settle their slack-jawed gazes upon my perfect angel.
On top of all of this, Sara has a meeting with the Methodist Church today to talk about day care for when she has to go back to work. We're hoping that she can go part time, but if not, this place was the least expensive, coming in at ONLY $160 per week. I would rather Harper go to a place like Brightside Academy, but they are expensive (almost twice the price) and I know that an educational daycare would be wasted just now. I am also swallowing the absurd notion that after a single day at Methodist day care, Harper will come home proclaiming her undying love of the Lord, Jesus Christ and still toweling off from her river bank baptism. These are insane concerns, I know.
It's MUCH to cold to baptize someone in the river...