So a few days ago, my bright, intelligent, wonderful, son reached a huge milestone, his double-digits age indicator! He is now officially a whole decade old…10!
And while its a big deal for him, its equally momentous for me. Its brings my parenting gig to a whole decade too 😀 its been a decade of wonder, surprises, second-guessing myself, amazement, joy, frustration, and innumerable lessons, and whilst I may not be able to count all the lessons here’s a few that stand out!
1. Babies cry! A lot…but they also smell so sweet.
2. Point No 1 is voided in the event of a dirty nappy.
3. Expect to have to clean up poop from places you never imagined, because you never knew baby poop could spread so fast.
4. Breastfed newborns have especially yellow poop, which stains everything from babies vest, to the onsie, and even the blankets at times.
5. Mums of newborns spend a disproportionate amount of time talking about/thinking about/cleaning up baby poop!
6. Sleep becomes a distant memory, but you also amaze yourself at the amount of things you can accomplish whilst being sleep-deprived.
7. This is also the time, you realise that while the baby books and magazines you so religiously bought throughout your pregnancy, might have wonderful airy-fairy ideas of parenthood, such as doing yoga with perfectly ghd’ed hair, whilst holding your baby and that it might make a pretty picture in the magazine, it is a completely unrealistic for a normal mom to do. Having a 5 minute shower, is an accomplishment at this point!
8. The first time your baby rolls over/crawls/smiles/discovers their reflection in the mirror/takes their first step/start talking (insert any achievement) will make your heart flip with joy and overflow with pride.
9. A week later you realise how unprepared you were for aforementioned moment of amazement. This is usually when your newly crawling child almost crawls down the stairs (read as almost falls down)
10. The shock factor when the toddler you thought was asleep in his cot, climbs out without you noticing and then waddles over to you, is absolutely terrifying!
11. The fancy pram with the ‘one-hand-fold-up-gadget’ isn’t really all that easy to fold up, and certainly needs 2 hands to fold up!
12. Also at around this time, you experience another moment of terror, when you acknowledge that about 65% of the things you bought off the ‘baby necessity’ list at the baby shops (I’m looking at you Reggies and Babies’R’Us!) you’ve never used, and was an absolute waste of money! So much money… Which wouldve been better spent bribing family to watch said toddler while you nap. (If you have family nearby, that is…which I don’t, but still I’d have saved a lot of money!)
13. It is painful weaning your child off the breast. Not just the physical pain but also an emotional one as its saying goodbye to the end of an era!
14. Your child, whilst is off your body, is not yours alone. They might be your son/daughter, but they’re also a grandchild, niece/nephew, cousin, older/younger sibling, friend… And whilst your love is by far the strongest (and most important!) Do not ever, never, ever deprive them of the opportunity to receive love from other avenues. In fact, create the opportunities for this to thrive. There really is no such thing as too much love!
15. Learn to embrace your super-powers! Whether it be the ability to kiss a bruised knee better, juggle 3 grocery bags and a half pocket of oranges whilst still holding onto your child (albeit his collar), or being able to ward off the monster in the dark. To at least one little person, you are a super-hero! Own it!
16. I have learnt to pay attention to food like never before. I have also learnt that no matter how you try to disguise the presence of tomatoes or peppers in any food dish, it is a near impossible task! However sometimes attempting to make meals that are healthy and nutritious means adding a few slices of cucumber to the side of the plate! Its green, and a veg (or is it a fruit?)
17. Friends will hurt them, but they will forgive and forget, and be happily playing together again about 10 minutes later. Also friends will come and go, literally…as in through your house, leaving muddy footprints and happy memories behind.
18. All the world will give you advice on every aspect of parenting. This is NOT confined to the pregnancy or baby years. Do not feel undermined, judged, or belittled. Pick what works for you, and smile and wave at the rest.
19. Do not speak things in the presence of your child you don’t want them to repeat! They will never hear you say ‘pick up the toys’ but will quote you word for word on things they were not supposed to hear!
20. Legos are dangerous…for parents I mean! It is not an urban legend. Stepping on a stray Lego truly has the potential to cause *@#;)$# words to involuntarily escape your mouth! Amazingly your child will likely step on a Lego block once in comparison to you stepping on it 38 times!
21. Laugh at their knock-knock jokes! Even when it makes no sense, or rather especially when it makes no sense!
The frog who?
NO! Its just a frog!!!
22. Finding a school is an overwhelming mission. Application forms ask everything from your residential address, to your salary, to the reason for your preference of Thai food over Chinese, a blood sample, and IQ and EQ of your paternal great-grandfather… Ok, I’m exaggerating, only slightly, but its overwhelming!
23. Learning to give your child ‘space’ is a real thing! Its really difficult watching them lose their balance over and over again, whilst trying to perfect roller-blading, but its in the falling and getting up again, that they will eventually master it. Its still hard to do!
24. You know that birthday gift you spent so time and energy choosing, the one that’d be just perfect, the one that he’ll love forever…
Yeah, that…Understand that to your child it might not be all that wonderful. Sometimes, not often, but sometimes he won’t want another toy, and instead will prefer just laying on the grass with you, looking at the shapes of clouds in sky. Cherish these moments!
25. Building a friendly relationship with your childs teacher is always an advantage. But here again, finding just the right line between fun, cool, involved mum and psycho, over-protective parent is a delicate balancing act.
26. School is important, yes, but if they haven’t aced a test, its not a train smash. Shouting, punishing or belittling them doesn’t bring on better results in the next test. Encouragement, effort from mum and kid, and a positive attitude however does wonders. This is also very effective at sporting activities. Irrespective of whether the team wins or loses, its important to be standing right there, screaming encouragement, cheering on the wins, and consoling the loses. Just be there!
27. Also, it is perfectly acceptable to google answers when you’re helping your child with homework! How else are we supposed to know the difference between abstract and compound nouns?!
28. And at odd moments (like trying to wash what was supposed to be water-soluble paint off a tshirt, or pulling a splinter out of a baby toe) you find yourself overwhelmed with new awe and amazement at your own parents. It is only when a parent yourself that you can truly appreciate the extent to which your parents have done for you.
29. The phrase ‘Time flies’ becomes something of a norm, but it truly does. One moment you have this breathtakingly beautiful baby in your arms, and then it seems like in a flash, he’s 10, and you’re writing lists about the things you’ve learned. Too soon the chubby baby cheeks have disappeared and he’s now a gangly,colt-ish, all arms and legs pre-teen… hug a little longer, steal every kiss you can, savour the now!
30. Above all else, parenting is a choice, everyday, every moment, to give of yourself, to nurture, to help, to nourish, to guide a once helpless little being, to a life that brings them adventure, growth, wisdom, joy, love, and laughter! To know that the purple crayon design, that is still present on your once newly painted walls are a trivial matter in comparison to the smile on your heart when not-so-little-anymore arms wrap around you and sleepily murmur ‘Love you mum!’