During my first pregnancy, my mother confessed that she once soothed a newborn by placing the baby atop a running clothes dryer. "What kind of lunatic would resort to the heated vibrations of a dryer rather than the warmth of her own body?" I challenged her. I insisted I would never need do that.
Fast forward several months. I was now the mother of a colicky baby. The dryer was a lifesaver, one of the few things that comforted my son during the first 10 months of his life. Disappointed that I couldn’t soothe my baby the way I had planned, my mother comforted me with her seasoned wisdom. "Don’t try so hard to be the kind of parent you imagine you should be. Just be the kind of parent your child needs." Eight years and two boys later I don’t always recognize myself as a parent, but I realize that each child responds to different parenting styles.