The Mrs Club
Wednesday, May 21, 2008 Mummy dearest

From the first time people notice you are pregnant, the wahala starts. From well meaning aunts to the WFM (Worldwide federation of wrestling moms) the unsolicited advice and judgment comes your way. You shouldn't eat that, bad for baby, you shouldn't do this, bad for baby. Then if you are unfortunate to have an active WFMer, lawd have mercy. "I played Mozart and Chopin for my baby while in utero, studies have shown it helps brain development" If you are a first time mom, you may fall for this, especially if your musical repertoire consists of hiphop and Psquare.

Then comes the smackdown match, the bottlefeeders against the exclusive breastfeeders. The WFMers have been training for this match for a much longer time. They are adamant about nipple confusion (Men, it is not what you think), they know the exact percentage of nutrients versus life saving antibodies, they proclaim that the bonding of mother to child is second to none during that time.

I know about this fight. I went toe to toe and I survived.
My daughter and I came to agree that breastfeeding was not for us. We had latch on issues and more. Came to the point that my 6 week old daughter told me, "Oya, pack it in, I would like my milk, processed and in a bottle, thank you. This is not working" Of course it came out in screams and more screams, when I tried to bfeed. She would scream herself red and I would be in tears. I was failing at my very first task as a mom. I thought it should have come naturally. After all, all the women I saw, had looks of blissful peace as they unselfconsciously heaved out breasts in public places or demurely sneaked junior under a very stylish shawl, either way they were providing what was wrong with me? I stressed out privately, but my daughter reassured me, despite claims from local WFMers that "Gosh, mine won't even touch formula, I guess it tastes so metallic" my daughter thrived. She grew healthy and big. She was never sick and from her development charts wasn't addle brained. When she started smiling I became sure that all was not lost. I hadn't failed at all, I had just taken a different path.

But it was not over.
Then came the baby food. Organic or not, what to get, what to give. Again trust the WFMers to have an opinion. "Oh my gosh, I only puree steamed organic vegetables and chicken and fish for my child, I don't think I could ever give him anything that comes out of a bottle, you never really know what they put in those things!" Makes sense I thought, not knowing that once more, I had fallen into the trap.
I tried pureeing squash, which was spat out with projectile force. I was given a look and a Waaah that I understood only too well. My little Madam was saying as sweetly as possible "Look, my friend, if you do not present my chicken and rice asap, it will be me and you". My husband laughed and pointed out the trap. "I was raised on Gerber and I turned out just fine"

Next up. The TV
I am a TV fan myself. Complete square eyes. Although these days, I don't have quite the time. The local WFMers paid for a PSA. TV will destroy your child's brain. I no longer trusted them and I also needed the 30 minute break that came in an adorable little boy called calliou. What kinship my child felt with this bald headed 4 year old, I'll never know, suffice to say that "Ka you!!" was one of her first words. I know WFMers, write me a citation!

There are still more stands to be taken, more smackdowns to be had. Ballet class at 3, or romping around in the park. violin lessons at 5, or singing with mummy. In everything you choose to do with and for your child, chances are there will be some WFMer telling you that there is a better way - theirs!

I honestly don't know what impact Chopin has on the brain, I actually play my daughter jazz and big band, because I love it, currently we are digging Diana Krall's rendition of Fly me to the moon and Frim fram sauce and my two year old is loving it too, we are bonding over our mutual love of scatting and improvisation.
I do know this for sure, that you can be so caught up in winning the smackdown that you fail to be present to the reality that you have a wonderful gift in a child. You can get so caught up in shuttling to classes that you don't take the time out to say I love you. You can get so caught up in making sure they wear the right clothes, go to the right schools and speak the right language (accents included) that you miss out on watching and knowing these amazing little balls of wonder, literal manifestations of God's grace and majesty.

Regular joe Mom or champion WFMer, we are all just trying to do the best for our children. Well here is my two cents, whether you breast or bottle feed...and whatever other choices you may make, the best thing you can do for your child is to love them completely and unabashedly. So if you see me kissing my Sina, with our arms wrapped around each other at the organic aisle in the grocery store, or if you hear me proclaim I love you as I give her some wendy's chicken nuggets, know that this is true. That though I may not win every smackdown, I love her wholly and this is the one thing I am most sure of.

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Posted by Naija Babe :: 5:19 AM :: 2 comments

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