Ever the student and often the teacher, I find it’s time for me to sit back and take stock of what I’ve learned so far about parenting.
1) I’m still me. I’m realizing this more and more. When I was younger and not even too much younger, I thought parents and moms were these older, wise, caring, grown up, polite, disciplinarians. But I’m one now, officially, by every definition. And my personality, likes and dislikes all stayed the same. I prefer junk food to vegetables. I hate doing the dishes. I can’t stayed focused on one topic in conversations. I google everything I’m unsure of. Maybe I thought once I crossed over that clear line from carefree youth to caring mom I’d magically have all the answers, a clean house, and a healthy diet. But for now, I guess I’ll just fake it til I make it!
2) Babies grow SO fast! Everyone told us this and still does. But it’s one of those things you have to see to truly understand. It seems just yesterday I was hardly ready to care for a brand new baby. And now, a mere 9 months later, I’m taking care of a completely different animal. He babbles, he twists, he reaches, he walks (with our help), he holds his own bottle, he can feed himself, his poop is just like mine! He spots stuff a mile away and wants it. He turns his head to investigate every little noise. No more am I worried about supporting him, or if he can see or hear me. He’s a whopping 25 lbs, which is really heavy to haul around. He has a big kid car seat. He wears a regular (albeit small) winter coat. He eats practically everything. He has two VERY SHARP teeth. In my early parenting weeks, I never even gave a thought to a different car seat. That milestone seemed ages away. I figured he’d be in a swaddle for the longest time and teeth just seemed like such a toddler thing.
3) Only you can make the best decision for your kid. No parenting book, website or even google can give you the right answer 100% of the time. And what’s available and assured for the masses is not always set in stone. There was so much I was afraid of early on that seems silly now. Of course, when your little one is brand new they need that extra special care. I was sure he’d practically graduate college before I let him have a blanket in bed (we gave him one of those awhile ago). He drops a pacifier on the floor and I just give it a quick mom sanitization (I pop it in my mouth for a second). I thought I had to give my baby pureed, official “baby” food. Then I discovered baby led weaning and threw all that commercial nonsense out the window. Even baby led weaning I customized.
4) It’s all a balancing act.It feels like I have this incessant inner voice saying stuff like: “Now don’t give him too much food, he’ll learn to over eat…Oh come on, give him just another bite, he seems like he’s starving.” or “Put a onsie on under his jammies so he’s not too cold tonight…what have you done, he’s going to wake up sweating in the middle of the night”. a recent classic “He’s screaming, take him from the babysitter and comfort him…great, now you’ve just created a dependent, momma’s boy!”. I’m always looking to find that middle ground just to quiet my inner paranoia.
5) I have so much to learn.