A Game of Multiple Choice
Updated: Jul 21
Parenting. Oh parenting. What a great life lesson in how very much you can work to prepare for something, yet how totally unprepared you can actually feel when the time finally comes. And the truth of the matter is, there really is. no. way. to. ready. yourself. You can read the books. (Yup) Take every class in the brochure. (Check) But when it comes down to it, and there you sit in the thick of it, and I’m talking shirt-soaked-in-the-fifth-projectile-vomit-of-the-day, rolling-on-the-floor-fits-because-the-Pop-tarts-ran-out, three-babes-crying-at-once, “Who-spilled-the-dog’s-water?!”, just-ate-my-last-piece-of-chocolate thick of it…you won’t find any pictures like that in your pamphlets. Nope.
Parenting is not a one-size-fits-all experience. There’s no set playbook. No perfect set of instructions. Just a blank notebook and pen, ready for you to write your own stories and adventures as you travel along. In fact, many times, parenting is a simple game of multiple choice. A pure guessing game. High-school style.
Case-in-point…here we sit…five-plus years into raising three precious little girls, when the events that arose in the wee hours of yesterday morning were like that of a parenting pop-quiz. There we laid in bed, 5:30 A.M., after t.h.r.e.e. h.o.u.r.s. straight of listening to Baby Nugget scream and cry…at a total loss as to what we should do next.
~She had been fed (twice).
~Diaper changed (twice).
~Cuddled and rocked for 30-40 minutes each time (twice). ~Medicine given for her mouthful of incoming teeth.
~No signs of feeling poorly.
Tired. Cranky. Searching for a “next move”. One of those moments when we realized we needed to pull together as a team. To make a decision. To take our best “guess”. Because we didn’t have an answer.
So, we let her cry. And believe me, did she cry…taking the phrase, “Let her cry it out” to an entirely new level. There was no sleeping. Just wishing and praying that she would find her way back to a comfortable sleep. And she did. And she slept three hours past her normal morning wake-up time. But she started her day with a smile. Happy and excited, ready to play.
I’m not saying we made the right “guess”. Nope. There are lots of other ways we could have chosen to respond. Considering, she has us tied around her little finger, we knew in part, she was playing a game (in addition to being overtired). Every time we got her back down, she was settled for a few minutes and then s.i.r.e.n.s., full-go. So, we gave it out best response and hoped it would work. Thankfully, although it took muuuuch longer than we expected, it did.
Parenting is all about choices. The toughest ones in the world. Sometimes, playing a game of “multiple choice”, weighing your options and deciding, is the best way to find a solution. With hope and prayers following. Because even the most experienced parents have trouble making those day-to-day decisions. And we have to remember not be so hard on ourselves. Our parenting style does not earn a grade. No. Our parenting style is rewarded by the behavior, character and actions of our children. And at the day’s end, as long as we have tired our best…mistakes, messes, and marvel…we must take a deep breath and savor the experience in all its parenting glory.