I have a few friends who are either currently pregnant or a currently trying to get pregnant so I want to put together a post just for them. It seems as soon as you announce that you are pregnant or start showing (whichever comes first) people will come out of the woodwork to give you advice. Being pregnant is like winning the lottery, people just magically appear to shower you with the dos and don'ts (as they see it) of pregnancy, parenting and just about anything other topic under the sun that because they have raised children in the past, or have grandkids now or possibly just knows someone who used to babysit for a kid once they feel they have a leg up on you and your situation. Most of these people are completely well meaning people who occasionally have helpful advice to impart. Occasionally you will encounter someone who seems to want to tell you the one and only way to do something like the perfect stroller to buy who doesn't really have your or your child's well being at heart and only want to boss you around, as it were, but in my experience these incidence are few and far between.
Now that I am a Mom I can tell you that the urge to share the little bit of "wisdom" that I have picked up while parenting over the last two years is strong. I will see a Mom-to-be in the Mall and I will want to walk over to her and give her a tip about something that worked for me. Being a Mom is so hard I want to give my fellow Moms all the help I can, I don't know a lot but I do know that Diaper Genies and Baby Bathtubs aren't worth the money and I want to tell her that before she puts either of those items on her baby registry. I am proud to say however that I have never done this, I only give advice when asked, I have been successful in restraining myself from unsolicited advice. Until now...
Most of my friends actually had children before I did so I was the one asking them for advice but now two of my friends are coming into the Mommy ranks and I have a couple things I am just bursting to tell them. Luckily, I have this blog where I can share my advice for them to read or pass over without having me talking their heads off, backing them into a corner while they gracefully look for an exit line.
After thinking long and hard about it I have two pieces of advice, they are extremely simple but require practice, patience and presence of mind. Almost like two meditations.
1. Just Sit Down
There is one thing that children want from you and that is You. Sure they want milk and clean diapers and rest and stimulation but those things alone are no good, they want them from You. When their child cries most Mothers do not hear "Milk,Diaper, Sleep, Toy" they hear "Mommy I want some milk,Mommy I need my diaper changed, Mommy I'm tired, Mommy I want to play," they hear those things because that is what their little one is saying. In the beginning they can do nothing on their own and as they get older you are one of the most important people in the world to them, they seek your attention and approval. In my experience, when things get crazy if I stop and listen my little guy is asking me for something, sometimes its just attention and other times it is something more tangible like juice or a banana. When he was just a baby he would cry and I would pace from room-to-room trying to figure out what was wrong while worrying if the neighbors could hear his cries, so in my frustration one day I just sat down in the middle of the floor and hugged him. He immediately stopped crying, I talked to him and laughed with him all the while cuddling him and giving him little kissies. He calmed right down and so did I, after a few minutes I got up and we continued our day as normal. He needs a clear signal that I am paying attention to him and am not blowing him off and I need a break, it's a win/win. As a toddler sometimes I will be walking around the house trying to work on chores as I check my email all the while thinking about needing to get to the bank before nap time the more hectic things get the more the little guy feels it he starts whining and following me from room-to-room trying to show me his car or get me to let him watch tv. Sometimes it escalates until I think I will lose my mind and then I remind myself to sit down, right then and there I sit down in the floor. The little guy runs over to me and jumps in my lap he drives his car on my arm and babbles away. I calm down and so does he, he will get another car and we will both play for a few minutes then we get up and go on about our day. So, when things seem over whelming and the little one is giving you Hell, just sit down. This has worked for me in parks and crowded malls too, find a bench and sit down you both might just need a little break from all the chaos for a minute.
2. Begin as you plan to go
I read a wonderful book called Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby. Begin as you plan to go was one of her secondary philosophies int he book but I grabbed onto it, it made so much sense to me and although it is nearly impossible to implement in all things when you can, it works. The book has a lot of other great stuff in it that has worked for me and is definitely the #1 book I would recommend for a new Mom/-to-be but if you had to take one thing away from it, it would be this. When you do something think to yourself "do I want to be doing this in 6 months?" If the answer is no then don't do it. For instance, Your child won't fall asleep so you sit next to her bed holding her hand until she finally does fall asleep, you most assuredly don't want to still be doing this in 6 months so after making sure she has a dry diaper and isn't in pain, you scare away the monsters, tuck her in and go back to bed because in 6 months you want to be sleeping comfortably in your own bed. I like how this philosophy leaves so many things open to interpretation, you choose the things you want and don't want to be doing in 6 months, no one tells you what to do. From the 2 years experience I have in raising a little one it really pays off to use this idea little habits start innocently enough but he picks up on them and after you have been doing something for a few months, weeks or even days it is hard to change. It is much easier to begin as you plan to go rather than go back and make changes after the routine is already in place.
Extra Quickie: Hand Sanitizer for the changing table. You won't have time to wash your hands and you just touched poop.
When push comes to shove those are my sage words of advice. Please feel free to take them or leave then whichever works for you and I am sorry if anything sounds preachy I just needed to get it out there, I couldn't help myself. I won't force any other ideas or tips on you but if you have a question please ask. Its not that I don't want to talk more about the little one it's just that I don't want to push any more unsolicited advice, but if tips/tricks and pointers are what you are looking for then by all means solicit. You know where to find me.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Posted by Rayna at 3:04 PM