I was twenty-eight when I had my first child. I really thought I knew just about everything up until that point. I had really never given being a mom much thought except that I knew I wanted to be one. How hard could it be anyway? I watched my mom and it seemed so very easy. I think I missed out on a few highlights in mom’s life like pregnancy, my brothers and my infancy, and the reality of what being a new mom with this tiny little life completely in your hands is all about. Wow.
There are so many surprising things about babies that are not common knowledge. I suppose I could have been better prepared if I had actually done some reading but I do not believe even that would have completely prepared me for the reality. This may sound disgusting to talk about but then I feel you should know if you do not already. The first bowel movement of a child’s life will shock you if you do not already know about it. I thought there was something wrong with my baby. You might just want to know that it is okay, seriously.
I have one girl and one boy which does by the way make a difference. Even though both boys and girls have the same propensity to tinkle (pee pee in some circles) when their diapers are opened up to the air, the fact is that the boys will actually tinkle in your face if you are not prepared with a shield. It was a great surprise to me when I first got hit in the face, but I learn quickly though, because that is a pretty good lesson.
I learned early on about colic in babies as well, for those of you who are not familiar with the word that means gas. Colic is little baby gas that will not come out but cramps their little tummies, which they do not like at all and babies are not hesitant to let you know how they feel. And they generally let you know in the middle of the night and it typically lasts most of the night. One consolation is that it does not last forever. Once they have our complete attention it usually subsides.
Another thing I learned is that not all babies are created identically, they actually have personalities all of their own! Can you believe it? What one child did as a baby can actually vary with the next child. How is that fair? One of my children decided that they only liked one kind of nipple on their bottle and refused any other kind. The other child could have cared less what kind of nipple as long as it was a bottle and he had one in each hand.
The child who only liked one kind of nipple took it even further to the point of only wanting one particular nipple, not just one kind, until it was washed so much that it had a blowout. Believe it or not that was a good thing because I have never seen a baby break themselves off of the bottle habit so quick. I did my best to help her at nine months by replacing the blown nipple with a new one but she threw them across the room as fast as I handed them to her. Then I put the blown nipple back on and let her give that a whirl which always turned out the same way. We finally settled on a Sippy Cup in the end and we were both happy.
The other child got to the point where he was walking around with the bottle in his mouth not caring if it was full of fluid or not. He would just walk along and let the bottle bounce up and down. I thought perhaps a pacifier would suffice but he would have no part of a pacifier. I finally put them all away somewhere and told him (because he was much older than nine months, a little closer to year and a half give or take) they were all gone. We searched for them together and when we could not find them then he too settled on a Sippy Cup,which was a happy day for all.
For some children this is not such a simple process but where things seem simple in some areas babies will do their best to make up for it in others. There is always potty training if you get lulled into a false sense of accomplishment. Now I realize this is not true in every home because the kids always like to keep you guessing but in our home my daughter was the one that mastered potty training early on, my son not so much. Now after a period of time he hated to wet in his pants but number two or poo poo, whichever you prefer, he did not mind so much. He actually did not seem to mind it at all. We all did however and it became a vein of dissention in the family. My husband blamed it on my potty training skills which went over real well as you can imagine. We did everything we could think to do and still nothing worked. I will not even tell you how long this went on so as not to send fear into your hearts and minds but it was a while, a long while. I took him to see doctors and everything that is how bad it was and the best advice I got was, “Well, I have never seen a child make it to high school still doing it.” Okay, thanks. I did however read an article just yesterday that I thought had some really great insights that I wished I would have had when my son was small. I will share this link because I really think we all need help in this area. You will thank me later.
Another thing I would like to touch on is eating habits. Babies and toddlers do go into stages of eating that are not particularly healthy or easy on us as parents. The doctors have begun to tell us that as long as they are eating something we should be happy. Thank God they actually have nutritional drinks now that do not taste like chalk. All I can tell you is that it does not last forever either. You must keep trying and offering them different foods and keep trying to expand their tastes because they will thank you later. You may have a picky eater but whatever you do keep trying. I see grown adults that still act like children when it comes to food and they do not know what they are missing out on simply because they do not try foods over again. Give your child the opportunity over and over again and insist that they try a bite of something different now and again. Now for those of you who are the adults I mentioned above, the ones that actually refuse to try new things, your children will most likely fall into your footsteps. If you begin to explore and expand your cuisine and they see you trying and liking new foods they will most likely follow suit. At least give it a try. Our taste buds do change over time.
In closing I will remind you that every child is an individual and not an extension of you or your husband. They may pick up some traits similar to yours but they are not you. You need to observe them closely and find out who they really are and what their likes and dislikes are and not just force your way of thinking on them. (That is unless their bent is to be a juvenile delinquent.) Knowing their personality and what makes them tick will help you immensely when training them and in helping them to reach adulthood well equipped to succeed. Everything does not work for every child; you have to know their bent and how they think and reason. You will probably be surprised what you find out and you will also find out that they can absolutely teach you a thing or two in the process.