I am a rule-follower when it comes to parenting decisions about Staley. Part of it is because she's our first child and I'm still trying to figure it all out. Part of it is because I work in a children's hospital and see what can go wrong when some of the 'rules' aren't followed. Part of it may be my controlling tendencies. Whatever the reason, I follow the rules. We followed the new-food-every-3-days rule when starting solid foods. Staley was on her back to sleep until she figured out how to roll herself over. Hand washing. Water temperature regulation. Breathable bumpers. Absolutely no co-sleeping. If there was a checklist for following baby rules, I'm sure I'd get a gold star.
Until today. Today I broke a baby rule. And not just any baby rule. I broke a carseat rule. I am a carseat safety technician. I have spent the last 10 years keeping up this certification by checking other people's carseats and making sure they are installed and used correctly. I have always been a stickler about Staley's carseat and carseat use. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a new recommendation a few years ago that children should ride rear-facing in their carseats until they are 2 years old. (The previous guideline was 1 year old and 20 pounds.) Staley is currently only 23 months old...and I turned her carseat around. (I will now pause while you gasp in shock and disapproval.) And it wasn't even for a legitimate reason, like her surpassing the rear-facing weight limit for her carseat or anything like that. We took Staley to the Festival of Lights tonight, and I wanted her to be able to see the lights better. That was my reasoning. I blew off the AAP recommendation because I wanted my child to have a better Christmas-light viewing experience.
Staley loved facing forward. Her legs weren't shoved up against the back of the seat. She could see so much more of what was going on around her. It was much easier to hear what she was saying. And so...I think we're going to leave her seat facing forward. And I'll be honest. I'm feeling a little guilty. I may only be breaking the rule by 1 month. In one month, the AAP will say, "Sure. Turn her around. Perfect timing." But for this next month, I'll be driving my daughter around with a little more caution...and a guilty conscience.