Put your feet up, stay a while

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

When my daughter was born, I received my share of unsolicited parenting advice.

Use cloth diapers. Buy disposables and a Diaper Genie. Don't give the baby a soother. Try this binky. Introduce meat at 4 months. Breastfeed until age 5. Here, slather this ointment on your nipples. 

Some suggestions were more helpful than others.

One of my favorites was: "Always run a vacuum cleaner when you put the baby to bed." Theory being that if you have your child fall asleep amidst obnoxious housekeeping noises, then – in addition to having a clean floor – your offspring will be able to sleep anywhere, anytime... mid meal, mid play, mid work. Whichever.

Like this kid.


And this one.


While I didn’t plug in the Dyson at nap time, I didn’t go overboard trying to create a silent sleeping environment for my newborn either. As a result, she dozed her way through several board meetings, numerous coffee shop visits and more than half a dozen Waffle House breakfasts – all during the first few months of her life.

Eventually though, her brain caught up with her and falling asleep became a wild struggle as “too much to do - too few hours in the day” became her mantra. If staying awake were an Olympic sport, she would take home the gold medal. Every. Single. Time.

Like mother like daughter.

While other children were passed out in shopping carts at the supermarket, mine was busy filling my trolley with baked beans and Kotex pads. And, as random youngsters lay snoring in their highchairs, mine was diligently organizing tiny packets of jam into  skyscrapers.

Until this week.

Jan, Geoff, the girl and I went for a mid-afternoon meal at a family restaurant. Country music was blaring. Teenagers were laughing. Babies were screaming. Staff members were singing. Patrons were clapping.

And this...

Spot the preschooler

For an hour, the 4 year old slept while we ate.  Just like that. And then, she woke up - refreshed, happy and ready to nosh. It was a Montana's miracle.

Fortunately the kid prefers her meals lukewarm - mostly because when she was a baby, I was terrified of setting her internal organs on fire and as a result all her entrees were served ice cold. No one gave me that advice, I came up with it all on my own.

No, really.

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