Why is it so hard to find things to blog about? Probably because it would be annoying to everyone for us to update the blog constantly with things like, ‘Curly can now say 4 new words’ or ‘Curly threw a 15 minute tantrum last night because he ate all his Trader Joe’s fruit crusher and didn’t understand there wasn’t any left.’ So while we’re working on building up gems like those, we’re turning back to the remaining questions (but we’re quickly running out, eek!)
cindyhoo2 asked: What were the biggest surprises about parenting, both the good and the not-so-good?
Well, we were lucky/realistic in that we did not have rose-colored glasses on about the whole thing. We knew there would be awesome moments, and we knew there would be really challenging ones as well. So, as far as the ‘good’ stuff…for me, it is the pride I take in my son. I think he is beautiful, charming, and intelligent…but I also would never say he is the most beautiful, the most charming, the most intelligent. I’m proud of him, but grounded. We get really excited when he does something new…even if it seems very simple, even if he was ‘supposed’ to know how to do it months ago according to the books. It is just absurdly exciting to see his wheels turn and to see him ‘get’ something, and even more so, repeat it. I am delighted when he learns something new at daycare and does it for the first time (to our eyes) at home. I love showing him off to people, and I love when he charms the pants off of them.
Surprises of the ‘hm..isn’t that interesting?’ sort include our satisfaction with him being in daycare, where we know he is happy, socialized and with people who are much more patient than I am throughout the day 🙂 I thought I would miss him more during the day, but I don’t. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I love him, I do miss him at times, but I am perfectly happy with our situation. That said, when I am with him, especially in groups, I am very ‘mama bear.’ I must know where he is, what he is doing, and who else he is with. On second thought, that’s not much of a surprise…
Surprises of the not-so-good variety. Sadly, there are a lot of these. I say this with a huge grain of salt, but we never thought we would have a child who slept too much. We LOVE that he has always been a fantastic night sleeper, but wow…at 15 months he still takes 2, sometimes 3 naps a day. That’s anywhere from 3-5 hours of day time sleep. It makes it so hard to do things sometimes. Admittedly, it’s gotten better since he’s been walking because he pushes himself more, but if we’re at a place where he can’t walk freely, the tired-crankiness can be harsh. I guess we also did not foresee that we would be trapped in our home at 7pm every night. Perhaps we thought he would be able to stay up sometimes if we wanted to go out to eat or whatever. No matter what we’re doing, he gets tired around 7pm and all he wants is his crib. We never thought he wouldn’t nap in his stroller either, ouch.
We thought he’d be more cuddly…or maybe that’s just what we wanted so badly. He does give us hugs now and then, but he never stays still to cuddle more than a few seconds, even at bedtime. Nutella thought she would have a better breastfeeding relationship with him. It was one of the hardest things she’s ever done, and she resorted to pumping for a couple months prior to stopping just to be able to reach her goal.
When he was first born, he was amazing to me, and he still is. But those first few months were so much harder than I ever anticipated, both because of our newness to parenting, and his strong personality (and reflux, you devil!). I thought I would love him with the strength of a million suns the moment he was born. I did not. Over time, I fell in love with him as I got to know him. It took many months, but it makes sense to me now. He is not perfect, there are times he is stinky or stubborn or cranky (or all), but there are times he is sweet and inquisitive and adorable. I accept him for everything that he is and when he’s laughing, time stands still in the most wonderful way. Parenting is everything I thought it would be and then some, times a hundred, for better and for worse.
…I was going to end there, but something occurred to me while writing this entry; it’s not so much the surprises of parenting in general, but of parenting our child. The way he is affects the way we are, the way we handle everything, the changes we’ve had to make. You can have a lot of preconceived notions about how you’re going to do things, and you may be able to apply some of them, but ultimately, it will be (or rather, should be) your child that makes your experience of parenting what it is.