I definitely haven't joined the Dark Side... I've read way too much about Jacen Solo to go that way. And now you know I'm a big Star Wars geek, so there's something to put in the old blackmail basket. But I'm learning, as a parent, that there is a definite Gray Side, where lines get difficult to draw in the sand.
First of all, there is TV. We don't have TV-- no cable, no satellite, and we broke our bunny ears. We actually wait until The Office or Lost is out on DVD before we get involved again. And why not? No commercials, closed captioning, weekend marathons-- it's all gooood. But as my pregnancy progresses, my exhaustion grows, and my toddler dips a screeching toe into the Terrible Twos, I have offered up 30 minutes a day to the god-like power of Samsung. That's right-- I let Cleo watch her Little People DVDs. And now it's her first thought waking up-- "Watch Littuh Peepuzz?"
So she's 21 months and already sadly addicted. Welcome to America, little buckaroo. And I feel very conflicted about it, but that's often my only 30 minutes of calm a day. I can clean, fold laundry, cry, read more about Jacen Solo, or just go into this odd Mommy Coma, which is like a nap when you can hear everything going on around you, including exclamations of, "EGGS!" "GIRAFFE!" "WHEELS!" And that 30 minutes makes me a better mom, so I feel it's a fair exchange.
Another trip to the Gray Side would be weaning Cleo at 20 months. It was slow, thoughtful, low-stress, and easy, but I still feel guilty about tapering off purposefully instead of going the child-led weaning route. Especially since she's now on the 3rd illness of her life and the 2nd one this month since the weaning weekend. It is painfully obvious that she is missing out on my immunities, and when I'm holding her fevered head at 3am, I am ridden with guilt.
But at the same time, anyone who has nursed an energetic and acrobatic toddler in their first trimester knows that it is utter hell. It's not like cuddling a soft, snuggling newborn... it's like wrestling a concrete octopus with talons and teeth. They do aerobics, they jump, they try new yoga positions, they elbow like wrestlers, all on your stomach while attached like barnacles, and it's all you can do not to cry and throw up with all those crazy hormones. And it HURTS! But loving, thoughtful weaning is better, in my opinion, than resenting your child, and the 10 hours of sleep she now gets each night, and the 7 or 8 hours it allows me, make us all a better family.
So, in conclusion, I know that the fall to any darkness isn't a decisive step, but lots of tiny decisions that make sense in context and eventually tally up to a big, naughty baddy in a black mask standing over you with a lightsaber. I don't want to be that baddy, but I also don't want to be Luke Skywalker, standing around impotently with an unlit lightsaber, expecting everything to work out okay through indecision.
We make our decisions, and we live with them, and I now have to go live with Aaron Neville singing about the Little People in that creepy falsetto.