My template

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Things I've learned since becoming a parent

I have learned a lot over the course of the last five years, and I'm hoping to use some of that with the new baby. Here are a few things:

1. Don't have any expections. I fully expected "T" to sleep through the night at six weeks, be walking by 10 months, talking in full sentences by the time she was a year old, potty trained by 18 months and reading by two. I can no look back on myself and laugh my head off. I didn't know I was going to be raising a child who was very independent and stubborn (I should have because I'm the say way).

She didn't the sleep through the night until she was about four months old, and we had trouble with night wakings until she was three. She doesn't like to sleep and believes she's missing out something by not staying awake. "T' could have walked by her first birthday, but she wanted everyone else to carry her. This didn't fit with the independence part, but it did fit with her stubborn side. She also didn't potty train until she was four. Yes, I said four. "T" didn't like panties. She wanted to keep wearing her pull-ups. I begged and pleaded with her, threatened to punish her and bribed her. Nothing worked. I finally just gave up. When she was four, she just decided one day she wanted to wear them. We haven't looked back since.

Don't have any expectations for your children. If they don't live up to them, you'll just be disappointed, and that's not right. Because you should love your children no matter what.

2. A baby can't be spoiled and it doesn't need to cry to develop its lungs. That last part is an old wives' tale I've heard all of my life (even from my sweet Granny, who was usually right about all things), but it isn't true. Allowing a child to cry simply raises their heart rate and their blood pressure and keeps them from trusting whether or not you are coming to help them.

Also, a baby will not be spoiled. I was always told not to hold "T" constantly because I would spoil her. Things you give attention to don't spoil; the only things that spoil are things you ignore. I loved holding her, and I loved having her know I was always there. She often slept better when I was holding her, which allowed me to catnap, too.

3. Never say never. I'm having to eat my words now. I swore that I would never allow "T" to sleep with us, would never spank, wouldn't yell, etc. Damn, was I ever wrong. She's almost five and still in the bed with us, although I'm hoping to have her moved to her room by the time the baby comes. That gives me nine months, give or take a week. I have spanked, although I am ashamed of it. I hate the way it makes me feel when I do it, but sometimes, it is all that works with "T."

I'm sure there is more that I have learned, but these are the three basic things. My sweet, sweet Granny once told me, "Just love her and everything else will work itself out." She couldn't have been more right.

No comments: