We dream for years, plan for months, endure discomfort for at least the last few weeks, labor for (hopefully) less than a day and then poof, we have a baby. We have waited so long and now parenthood is upon us. Before we reach this point, we can only wonder what it will be like. Once we reach this point, we discover all the joys that parenthood provides.
We also discover that somedays, it just feels like we spend all our time second-guessing our decisions.
I think I gave her too much milk. DId I give her enough milk?
Am I trying to put her down for a nap too early? What if I wait too long and she gets too tired?
Should we go for a walk? Is it too cold for a walk? Will she wear her hat if we go for a walk?
Boy, is that tiring. And this is just skimming the surface of the inner monologue that I think goes on in the head of new parents on a regular basis. I understand that there is a huge learning curve when we become parents and that the curve will change from child to child. Especially in this era of ever-present information on raising children (a.k.a. the Internet), we are inundated with research/studies and the inevitable choices to make. Even feeling well-informed doesn’t guarantee our confidence.
So, I figured I would jot down a few things that I think my husband and I are actually (maybe) doing right to share with our readers (don’t worry, there aren’t that many).
Ever since Peanut was born, we have always had reading be a part of everyday. It began with just reading books so she could hear our voices and different words, then it became reading books and showing her the pictures, encouraging her to turn the pages. Even if she would start off following along and lose interest after a page or two, we kept on reading. Even if she flipped from the first page, straight to the last, we read whatever was on the page in front of us. We encouraged her to learn the words of her favorite books, by repeating the words and pointing to the object on the page. At this point, she can occupy herself with a pile of books, turning the pages, saying familiar words (her favorites are teddy, ball and apple) and she has developed a pretty good vocabulary for a 15 month old.
When Peanut was around one year old, she was able to make some simple needs known by either saying/signing “More” or even just pointing to an object. We began to encourage her to say please each time she asked for something. Sometimes she remembers to say it on her own, other times she needs a little reminder, but either way I figure it can’t hurt to have her in the habit of saying it. I know that she can’t quite grasp what please (pronounced “pleeshe”) means, but gosh if it isn’t the cutest little sound.
Cleaning up her bath time toys.
At the end of every bath, our routine goes something like this. We turn off the water, drain out the tub and Peanut puts all of her bath toys away in a bucket with one simple reminder “Time to clean up.” It has taken some time for her to learn to put the toys away with just this one line, but I hope that this will instill an appreciation for her personal belongings and a recognition of cleaning up after herself. I also hope that this translates into cleaning up her room when she is a teenager (because I don’t think she will inherit that gene from me).
There you have it. A few of our parenting practices that we feel confident and proud of. I want to tell our readers that for all the times you feel like you haven’t the slightest clue, stop. Take a step back and think about the environment that you are working to create for your child(ren). Celebrate and recognize your dedication.
Give yourself a pat on the back because parenting isn’t easy and tell us, what are you doing right?