Monday, August 30, 2010

What I have learned so far


Yes, that’s my Little Miss in the middle of Target. You think she’s trying to tell me something? I have learned to recognize her cues – she’ll twirl her hair when she’s tired, be very still and quiet when she’s out of sorts – but when I ignore them, she definitely knows how to make me listen. Helping herself to a pillow and blanket on the bedding aisle at Target is one way. Yes, she is adamant. And resourceful.

You know what else she has taught me? In the 21 months and 10 days of being Little Miss’ mom, I have also learned that:
- our schedule with a baby may be more rigid but it doesn’t mean life is over. In fact, a bigger, more exciting journey awaits me and this is just the beginning.

- life is a box of chocolates…that we hide from our toddler or eat when she’s asleep.

- no parents and kids are alike, so unless someone is doing visible harm, I shouldn’t judge other parents based on the differences in our decisions.

- paying attention to how I look does not make me shallow. It makes me feel good about myself. And if it doesn’t affect how I parent, why not? A hot mama is still a mama.

- no one party has it better – stay at home, work full time or in-between – there are pros and cons to every situation. Even if you’re Brangelina.

- no matter how perfect a parent seems or well-behaved a baby is, teething makes everyone its bitch.
- I can be the most confident person in the world and still be unsure about every little decision I make for and about my baby.

- whoever who coined “sleeping like a baby” obviously never had one.

- reveling in a good day is OK, even encouraged, because most assuredly, there will be bad days.

- kids’ clothing sizes run the same mysterious way women’s sizes do. A Toddler Size 24 Months that fits my daughter perfectly in one store can house two of her in another.

- running into a store for five minutes is no longer a quick jaunt, it is a hassle luxury, which is why drive-thrus are god sent (see why on my favorite daddy blog).

- kids can remember more than I give them credit for but yet they still manage to forget their inside voices at restaurants. all. the. time.

- society will sometimes have different ideas for and about my daughter but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with them.

- my kid has given me a whole new definition of messy, surprise, frenzy, desperate, joy and laughter.
- my daughter's discovery of language is quite possibly the most exciting journey I have ever experienced. I think I would say the same even if I’ve been to the moon.

- there are constant surprises, but whether it’s good or bad is sometimes just a matter of perspective.

- there will be a crisis every now and then. How I handle that is not determined by my personality. It’s whether or not I’ve eaten just before that.

- patience with my daughter and myself will be called upon and tested more than any other virtue I possess.

- there will be a love affair with animal crackers one day and World War III with it the next, which means procuring toddler’s favorites in bulk may not be the best idea unless I’m planning on stocking a fallout shelter.

- my mother does know what she’s saying sometimes. But I still need to parent according to my own instincts.

- the differences between girls and boys are magnified not by their genes but by society and what we teach them, which means I have to be mindful with my words and actions if I want my daughter to know that girls can do math and boys are also expected to help out in the kitchen.

- the time I do not have an extra set of clean clothes is when the spectacular poop blowout happens.

- my body can do amazing things, like create a life, so it deserves more respect than I often show.

- teaching by example not only means modeling good behavior; it also means my daughter will just as likely mimic my bad habits (boy have I learned this lesson!).

- it’s definitely harder to be more spontaneous with intimacy during the day. But that’s what nap times are for. Oh, and an episode of Barney if we’re really desperate.

- I was strong before my baby, but it’s uncanny that with her, I feel both powerful and powerless at the same time.

- every commercial and news about kids in unfortunate situations will make me cry and hold on to my girl a little tighter.

- to sleep is perchance to dream but I’m usually so exhausted that I don’t even have the energy for that.

- my partner is not my punching bag. He is an equal parent to my child, and he too deserves a say in how we raise our kid(s).

- there is often joy in the little things; waiting for a special occasion to lift my spirits (vacations, anniversaries, dessert at the end of dinner) only means I’ll be missing out on the biggest thing: my own life.

Well, this is by no means an exhaustive list because at the time you’re reading this, I would’ve learned something else. And since no two experiences are alike, tell me, what have you learned from your parenting journey?