I own a few parenting books ranging from breastfeeding and child development to general parenting. One of my favorites is Your Baby & Child by Penelope Leach and every once in a while I browse through and read about the stage my baby is in. Leach writes in a loving tongue rarely putting things in stark black and white. She is pro-breastfeeding but non-judgmental about bottle feeding. She encourages thoughtful and loving parenting. Her book is beautifully illustrated with colorful photographs of parents and babies in sometimes inspiring realistic photos. Leach writes loosely when it comes to baby milestones such as sitting, crawling, and walking. Never does she state a specific week or age that Baby should say his first word or take her first step. Penelope Leach divides baby stages into Newborn 0-3 months, The Settled Baby: up to 6 months, The Older Baby 6-12 months etc..
A *Settled Baby* defined by baby expert, Penelope Leach, is,
"A manageable proposition. You can tell how he likes to be handled even if it is not the way you would choose to handle him. You know what to expect from him even if it is the worst. You know what frightens him even if it is almost everything. Above all, you can tell when he is happy, however seldom that may be, and when he is miserable, even if that is almost always. So once your baby is settled you know what you are up against. Instead of trying to survive from hour to hour, get through another day, avoid thinking about another week, you can begin to work and plan for reasonable compromises between his needs and those of everyone else."
Well, based on Penelope Leach's fine words, I am declaring myself a *Settled Mama*. For the first time in a long while, I feel like I can go to bed at night pretty much knowing what the next day will bring. I know that baby E will be waking me at around 5:30 AM. I'll get to snuggle in bed with her for about an hour. By 6:25 I'll have leaped out of bed and head downstairs after having washed and dressed myself and 2 out of 5 kids. By 6:45 I'm well into the morning marathon of packing lunches for the 4 bigger kids, facilitating serving of breakfast, brushing little teeth and styling my young daughters hair. By 7:35 we're all out-the-door getting my son to his bus-stop, and driving H. to preschool and A. and M. to school.
I reap calmness in knowing that my 4th grade daughter no longer loathes school and she made new friends that she even brings home for play-dates. My 2nd grade daughter is excelling in every subject and no longer exhibiting strange blinking habits. I feel relief knowing that my son is getting used going to kindergarten in the special education system and he is thriving!
I feel settled. I drive home after dropping the kids off. It's usually around 8:00 AM. I have coffee. I read my e-mails and log in to Facebook... By the time I head out to pick up my 3-year old from preschool, I've done a few loads of laundry, washed the floors and dishes, or possibly gone grocery shopping. I've breastfed baby E. many times and I don't keep count. I've written new articles on my website and checked how much Google money I've made... I might have gone out for a 2 hour power-walk with baby E. I'm settled. It feels GREAT!