Planets Growth Chart

Image by Orignaux Moose via Flickr

This is my first look at what I’ve done in the past year.

We’ve had quite a year. Our start was a particularly rough one. Thankfully nothing serious, but Little G didn’t respond well to food. Our first couple of months were filled with weekly weight checks at the doctor, a nightmare of trying to breastfeed, acid reflux, milk allergies and little to no sleep. I’d like to say that this is how you should do things and we were successful at implementing them and we are the model parents. But that’s not how it happened at all.

Lessons we learned:

  • Be consistent. You hear this everywhere, but it’s true.

Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Even during the first year. If you say don’t touch that or I’ll… then you have to do it. And if you say don’t touch that, mean it every time.

  • Don’t be lazy. (This is a tough one for me.)

This ties in nicely to the “be consistent” point. It’s really tough to be consistent. There a gazillion times where you will want to stay seated on the couch and not get up to keep the baby from touching the remote you told him not to. But you need to. And when you little guy walks down the hall for 30 seconds and you don’t want to get up and see where he is… get up.

  • Trust your instincts.

This is particularly tough because you will always second guess yourself. But really, you are the person (or persons if you count your husband) that know the baby best. You are the one that’s there through the changes and the small details. No baby is the same as another one, and  yours is your child, not someone else’s.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help and use the resources around you.

You’ll want to do it all yourself, prove that you can be the mom, housekeeper, employee, spouse etc etc, the list just goes on and on. Ask family and friends, your pediatrician, the internet. There are lots of options.
There are many resources out there if you just look for them. If you don’t have family or friends nearby, then make some. Find a playground, mom’s group at the pediatrician, story hour at the local library. You may have to get a little creative, but try.

  • Set the example.

If you want your child to learn to say please and thank you… then you need to say please and thank you. If they shouldn’t lie, then don’t lie. If you don’t want them to swear, don’t swear.

  • Forgive yourself.

You are going to make mistakes. Sometimes they will be minor and sometimes they won’t, but either way you can’t avoid them all together. I can vividly remember the day I didn’t remember to check if the slider door was closed and our son crawled/fell out on to the porch. I made a few mistakes that day, forgetting the door, and not getting up as fast as I could to catch him. That was pretty minor compared to things that could have happened, but it was my first bigger mistake.

  • Give love freely, NEVER make your child work for love.

Give hugs and kisses and laughs and giggles. Even when both you and the baby haven’t slept for days and he’s covered in poo up to his neck. Try to have a good outlook. These days will pass quickly and you WILL miss them.