Goodnight Little Hare

posted by Andrea | 04/25/2014

good night little hare

A couple months ago, my mom gave Nora a new book, Goodnight Little Hare.

The book is about a very sleepy baby Hare (my mom has given Nora several “sleeping” books in attempts to get her to sleep more!) It’s one of Nora’s favorite books — probably because the illustrations are so fabulous.

We read it at least once every day, sometimes 8-10 times a day — and Simon will probably have it memorized by the time he’s 3 months old :)

reading

The book starts out with the mother Hare putting the baby Hare to bed. She lovingly tucks him into his bed of hay… only to have a Badger walk by and say, “that’s not the best place for your baby to sleep, you should dig a hole for him”.

So the mother digs a hole, but then a Mole walks by and says, “that’s not the best place for your baby to sleep, you should put him in a bed of leaves.”

So the mother gathers up a bunch of leaves, but then a Black Bird flies by and says, “that’s not the best place for your baby to sleep, you should put him in a nest.”

So she puts her baby in a nest, but then the baby is scared… so the mother takes him down.

At this point, the mother Hare is completely worn out and feeling totally defeated. All she wants is for her baby to have a place to sleep — but by trying to please everyone else and listening to everyone else’s opinions, she just ends up running around in circles and getting all stressed out.

Thankfully, a wise Owl flies by and comforts the mother Hare. He encourages her to simply think about how her mother put her to bed when she was a baby… and basically empowers her to do what SHE feels is the “best” way to put her baby to bed.

She ends up laying her baby back in the bed of hay — just as she was planning to do way back at the beginning of the book. Her baby immediately falls asleep and she sits there peacefully, watching him sleep.

I realize I’m totally reading into this book (after all, it’s just a cute little children’s book) but the first time I read this book with Nora, I felt so much empathy for the mother Hare. I wanted to tell her, “It’s OK, you’re a good mother. Just do what YOU think is best for your baby.”

I honestly felt sad when I saw the picture of her slumped over and defeated — so worried about trying to do what everyone else told her to do that she didn’t trust her own instincts.

I know just how she feels — because I felt that way for the first year of Nora’s life. I felt so overwhelmed with my role as mother, and I honestly just wanted someone else to have all the answers for me.

I tried everything others suggested… the only problem was that so much of those outside suggestions contradicted each other.

Your baby should sleep on their back… but sleeping on their back can cause flat spots on their heads, so they should actually sleep on their stomach… but sleeping on their stomach isn’t safe.

Breast feeding is best… ┬ábut unless you use bottles, you’ll end up with a clingy baby who can’t be away from you.

You shouldn’t hold your babies too much, you’ll spoil them… but you can’t ever spoil a baby so you might as well hold them.

Your baby needs to learn how to self-sooth, so they should cry for a while… but “crying it out” is an awful solution, so you really shouldn’t let them cry.

Starting solid foods around 4 months is appropriate… but it really is best to wait with solid foods until after the first year to prevent possible allergies.

You should only feed your babies every 3-4 hours… but feeding on demand is really the best method as you don’t want to starve your child.

You should have your babies vaccinated… but vaccinations are evil, so only horrible parents allow vaccinations, but you’re also horrible if you don’t get your child vaccinated.

Co-sleeping is the way to go… but sleeping with your baby is really dangerous so you should never do it.

I could go on and on.

The list of contradictory advice I’ve received over the past 2 years is enough to make my head spin and my mind wander with all the ways I’m certainly failing my children by doing the “wrong” thing.

I realize that much of the advice was from well-meaning friends and family, but the fact that it was so contradictory (and the fact that I have a type-A personality and always want to follow the rules) made it so much more difficult for me to figure out just how I should handle my new role as mother.

It was a steep learning curve — and I still have SO much learning to do — but I can not tell you how much more confident and relaxed I feel with Simon versus Nora. I’ve done the tiny baby thing, it was hard, really hard, but I made it through and Nora isn’t totally messed up.

The baby phase is still really hard for me — but at least this time, I know enough to trust my own instincts and not worry so much about what everyone else tells me is the right way. I also know that in about year, we’ll be past this stage and into the much more enjoyable toddler stage.

Even I can deal with the tiny baby stage for a year :)

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14 comments

  1. Paulette Smith

    04/25/2014

    Your mother is so wise. Sounds like she was trying to encourage you, knowing you would be reading this book over and over to Nora! It’s a wonderful, awesome, and at times a terribly helpless position being a grandmother. Thank you for sharing your life with us Andrea. You are an amazing wife and mother!

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  2. LoriB

    04/25/2014

    I wonder if the author was writing from the same experience you’ve had. I do love children’s books that mirror real life. Its nice when we get to see that we’re not alone in our situation. One thought that came to my mind as I was reading this and its not always true because children and circumstances can be different but what we experience with our first children is always new and learning something new is always harder. Some things may came easier than others because of how God made us. Teaching new math concepts to my children was always a battle but several weeks later after they learned how to do that new thing it was no big deal to them. For me the baby years were a sweet enjoyable experience because I had some experience with much younger siblings but when my children were school age when everything was new, I was often overwhelmed by fear and anxiety until I walked through the experience and found out I could do it. Even now first experiences with my children are scary….first wedding was a big deal, second and third not so hard; first grandchild took us a little while to figure out now we are excited for the second and third. At the age of 39 I had my first daughter (after 3 sons), in addition to being a girl she has many physical and developmental challenges, so for the last 15 years everything has been new again. All this is to say there is no one size fits all for raising children. Your list of contradictions was right on. Do the next thing is my motto because I am trusting that God is the one who directs my paths. Sorry to be so long.

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  3. Lydia @ Five4FiveMeals

    04/25/2014

    Love! Sharing this post with my mom book right now!

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  4. Debby

    04/25/2014

    I too felt that way my daughter’s first year of life and with breastfeeding. I wish I would have followed my own gut and switched to a bottle. She and I would have both been calmer. She was a lazy baby that didn’t want to nurse. Feeding her and keeping her awake while trying to feed her was torture. Seriously, torture. She was always skinny and I was constantly questioned about how much I was feeding her. Well guess what she is now 18. Still eats a ton, and is still very very thin. I knew I was doing everything for her and I must say my pediatrician was a gem. But his nurse practioner, uuugghhh. I banished her from the room around the 6 month well check because she would make me feel so badly about her 10 percentile weight. That girl has some bad Karma coming at her. ;-) You are a great mom, and very intelligent. Follow your gut, and both of your children will be fine.

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  5. Lisa

    04/25/2014

    I think it’s so sweet that Nora gravitates towards this book too, shows how in tune you are to eachother. I had to smile at the list of contradictary “must do’s” My first baby’s colic undid whatever natural confidence I had and I spent waaaaaay too much effort trying to find the one right way to do all those things, it still exhausts me to think about it 12 years later! It’s a small consolation, but the fact that you have had to learn all this the hard way will make you such a blessing to all the new parents you know :)

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  6. Kim {Pinspired Home}

    04/25/2014

    Beautiful!
    I was one of the last in my circle of friends to have a child. Most were welcoming their second baby around the same time I was adjusting to my first, and I really think seeing them in the confident phase that you’re in now helped me to trust my instincts and therefore have a smoother transition into motherhood.
    I appreciate how candid you are about your experiences. I know this will help so many other mamas!

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  7. Sue

    04/25/2014

    I don’t want to sound bossy.. but I am sooo happy that I had my kids when I was “older” ( after 30) cause I kind heard all these “suggestions” and I was like.. ya know.. I am going to do what I think is best. I think if I was younger I would have beat myself up about trying to do what everyone said.. Andrea.. as my Mom said years ago to me.. ” you are the one walking that floor at night with that baby.. do what you need to do and do not listen to anyone else” .

    Sue in NJ

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    Andrea Reply:

    You don’t sound “bossy” sue :)
    I’ve often thought, “I can’t even imagine being a teen mom”. Seriously, I’m a confident person with a job, insurance, a house, a husband, family support… and I still felt like my first experiences with motherhood were just awful. Just think if I was that much younger!

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  8. Jeanine

    04/25/2014

    A great book for helping new moms gain confidence in themselves and hopefully enjoy their baby more is “Spirit Led Parenting: From Fear to Freedom in Baby’s First Year” by Megan Tietz and Laura Oyer.

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  9. Katie

    04/25/2014

    I think it’s Awesome! We all have trials in our life, however different they may be.
    Look at all the growth you’ve done!
    Great job, keep it up!!!

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  10. Tara

    04/25/2014

    I’m so glad to hear you’re having a better experience the second time around. It’s been the same way for me. It’s still surprising me every day how different my kids are and how much less I fuss and fret about everything. I must admit I still struggle with remaining calm and trusting my instincts for each new phase of my oldest’s life. She’s always my learning curve, poor girl. But she handles it pretty gracefully.

    Also, that picture of your kids and little Simon’s head bobbing on his Boppy next to Nora literally gave me baby fever. I never thought I was a baby person until I had my kids. Especially my second. Oh I miss those teeny tiny days. I didn’t really know how to appreciate them with my oldest, with my second I tried to soak up all those snuggles and naps on my chest. Mmm, the smell of fresh sleeping baby sweating on you. Can’t beat it. Almost makes me want another. I can’t believe I’m saying it though!

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  11. Karen

    04/26/2014

    Awesome correlation between literature and real life. Felt that way many times trying to please everyone else. Always go with your gut. Thanks for sharing

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  12. Ali G

    04/28/2014

    The advice I give new mothers, you know because I’m super experienced with a 7 year old and a 5 year old (Hahahahahaha!), is to ignore what everyone else tells them to do and do what they think is best. A nurse once told me that I am the best mother for my baby and I think that holds true, mostly, for all mothers. I’m not counting the abusive ones you understand.
    Congratulations on your growing family!

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  13. Jennifer

    04/29/2014

    I am 41, and my son was born just a few days after Nora. Even being older, and somewhat mature :), I still felt all those pangs of anxiety about baby issues and what family and friends were thinking about our parenting choices. I have even lied about some things to certain people I just didn’t want to have a discussion with. And daycare! Oh, daycare. They have their “expert” opinions, too. That was hardest for me. They were insistent about supplementing with cereal very early on and I could sense their annoyance when I still gave them pumped breastmilk after 6 mo. I actually recently resigned from my full-time job so that I can stay home with my son. I can’t handle so many “moms” for him. I can’t wait for the school year–and my contract–to be over!

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