In a few short days, our youngest daughter Evangeline will be 11 months old. I’ve had to remind myself to prepare to throw her a first birthday party and order her a baby book, as she is scaling over milestones on a completely different path than her siblings did before her. It’s one of the most interesting things about motherhood for me, learning how to parent a child as an individual as well as one of four children. The one constant, reliable factor will always be me and the resources I have built within my parenting arsenal to approach my children and their sometimes consistent, yet always evolving needs and wants. Motherhood to me is addressing those things in the most careful, loving, responsible and nurturing way possible.
Jack was a very classic first baby. He is calm and cautious, a leader in so many ways and yet my quiet child as well. I expected everything with Zoe, and as quickly as I assumed she would crawl, walk, and speak her first words, she has beaten me to the punch every time. Beau has been very much the same as his siblings before him, but with an added zest for life that is surprising and exciting and exhausting and wonderful pretty much at all times. From the beginning, I have kept them each close to me. They slept in our room and often in our bed from the day they were born, nursing whenever and wherever was necessary. One of the most rewarding parts of being a mother, for me, is being able to comfort my babies and care for them in the most natural and intuitive way possible, and while that is changing rapidly as they get older, there are some things that stay the same. Jack, Zoe, Beau and Evvie have all been breastfed for no less than 11 months each, they all have taken bottles fairly easily when needed, and they all have been pacifier lovers-all starting with the green hospital soothies, and all of them ending on the natural nipple style. I credit the pacifier with much of my sanity saving moments, for being able to comfort them at times when I physically couldn’t, and being that constant in their lives that was, next to me and Justin, something that they could always rely on calming them. We’ve recently introduced Evvie to Munchkin’s new Latch one-piece, lightweight silicone pacifier, and she seems to love it as much as I do.
I was also a pacifier baby and had mine until I was too old to mention. We are tactile beings, and the natural process of sucking and nurturing go hand in hand, and while it’s important that the pacifier isn’t used past a certain age, as a family with a Dentist as its patriarch, we are confident in our decision to keep these little life-savers in our baby’s daily regimen. The Latch is easy for Evvie to grab, and big enough for her to understand how to properly put it in her mouth snugly fitting under her little nose. We try to keep the pacifier strictly to a sleeping routine companion, but there are times that it’s truly the only thing that will soothe her. She is teething, which creates discomfort, pain and irritability on a regular basis, and she often can’t be calmed by anything other than nursing or the pacifier. It’s one of those things that I’m grateful to have in my parenting arsenal that will help her when truly most anything else won’t.
Evvie has brought many changes into our routine as parents, as an individual and as the baby of the family. She’s gone down her own path in many ways, teething months before her siblings and waiting just as long to crawl or walk. She is vibrant and loving, sweet and emotional in many ways that is just like her siblings before her, and while she is showing me how to parent on a brand new level, she is and will always be my baby. Parenting has shown me how to care on a multitude of levels, and I’m grateful for certain routines and products that have made this position so much easier for me as their mother.