Thanks to Next in Line, you have another NaBloPoMo post from me (and tomorrow I’ll make Nutella do it, too, yipee!!)
The biggest surprise
One of the biggest surprises to me is just how much Nature has seemed to mean a whole lot more than Nurture. I was always under the impression that it was 50/50, but now I don’t think so. Or at least, not up until 18 months. The nature that Curly was born with has really made our parenting what it is, not the other way around. He is in control and always has been, not us. It’s so easy to say ‘oh sure, we’ll keep doing such-and-such when we have a kid’ (and we’ve said lots of things like that before) but if he doesn’t like it or handle it well, that changes things. For instance, you can’t *make* a child sleep in a stroller, no matter how tired he is. He just gets crazier and more restless and devilish if that’s the way he is. And if he’s independent and not clingy, you have less to worry about when you leave him places like daycare or with a sitter, even after you’ve been warned about separation anxiety. If you plan to read him lots of books and cuddle with him, but he simply cannot stay still for more than 30 seconds at a time, you have to deal with that. You can’t change him.
Parenting has been more about reaction than anything else. And getting used to your child’s patterns so you know what’s coming and can do your best to keep them happy.
Most unglamorous mama moment
We’ve had a lot of these…moments when we’ve been flat-out sobbing because it’s been so hard or not what we expected. But uh, probably my most unglamorous personal moment was after Curly finger-painted his crib with poo from his diaper and after giving him a bath, I spent 5 minutes cleaning the slats of his crib one-by-one thinking, I cannot believe this is what my life has become.
Moving on to better topics…tickling him and rough-housing with him are totally fun. He loves climbing on us when we’re on the floor, being picked up and swung around, being “wrestled” with. We all love dancing together. Making funny faces at each other. Bath time is still a lot of fun. Going on exploratory walks outside or to the playground. Just hearing his laughter makes the day so much brighter.
The two best pieces of advice I can give are:
1) Keep all of your receipts. For everything (diaper packages, sippy cups, the newest carrier you bought, whatever). You never know what will or won’t work and what you need to return.
2) Hang in there. There will be hard days that make you cry. Your child will seem uncontrollable and fight napping or reject you. He may refuse to eat or throw 20 tantrums or break something important. But tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow he might be an angel and give you sweet hugs and kisses and do what you tell him and surprise you in some amazing way. Some days or time periods seem to drag on forever, and then all of a sudden they’re 9 months old and then 18 months old and you truly begin to realize how fast it’s all going. So hang in there and try to enjoy it as much as you possibly can.
I’m enjoying these posts so thanks Next in Line for starting them off – so interesting to read everyone’s thoughts and experiences like this. Realistic yet still heart warming 🙂
I too have been loving the posts everyone has been writing to cover these few questions/topics. Since we’re not yet in baby-ville, it’s very interesting to hear the perspective of those who have been there, done that. Thanks for sharing!! 🙂
Ditto the advice about hanging in there. And on that note, I want to tell you how honestly you write about how tough parenting is at times. In the first few weeks after Elliot was born, I felt so blind-sighted by how freaking HARD it was and felt frustrated and angry that no one had told me – I mean really told me – what was in store. Since then I have been chairing my own little Honesty Campaign, and it’s… I don’t know, just cool I guess, to come on your blog and read things that match up so well with my own thoughts on the good, the bad and the ugly. 🙂
So, sweet. I just heard the most interesting thing on NPR about how very different siblings are in spite of having the same parents and genetics, and it reminded me of this. Personalities are such an interesting thing, and often such a surprise. I hope you have many more great moments than gross ones. 🙂
This post totally brought back some moments with my older sons. I can’t believe we’re doing this all over again. Thanks for the reminder. The poo crib. Been there. Thanks for writing.