1. Teething is a long process. Not only for all teeth to come in, but for each tooth. It’s a process of stages. The teeth have to grow down the gums first, and then they can cut through. But it’s not even overnight at that stage. It takes a long time for a single (or two teeth side by side) tooth to come completely out of the gum.
2. A smile, a giggle, a word – these are all priceless. And you never grow tired of the new accomplishments that your child can do, even when it’s just a new noise, like a grunt. Each and every discovery is a new miracle.
3. Once you are a parent, you sympathize with other parents. If you see a child who is so upset and frustrated because of any reason, or a parent who is equally frustrated (these two frequently go together), you give them a knowing smile – because we’ve all been there. It’s knowing in a way that you just can’t comprehend until you have been there. Even if you think you do, it’s still clearer later.
4. Your priorities change your entire life. Although it used to be me who wanted to stay home and my husband who wanted to go out, now it’s the other way around. My husband craves the baby-time and family-time that really brings out the personality of our little man. And I want him to be well-socialized, even though I love spending every minute with him.
5. Trust your gut. This one is incredibly important to me. When I recognized that my son had sensitivity to dairy and peanuts, I didn’t trust myself. It was very early in his life and we continued to supplement with a dairy-based formula until a physician finally agreed with me. Now I’ve learned to trust myself more, just like in the case of the baby who would not sleep in his bed. You may remember that I finally realized it was because his hanging toy that he never played with was missing from his crib. Now I trust myself when he’s upset or frustrated and can easily (usually) figure out what is ailing him.
Now, my letter to all new parents:
Trust yourself. No matter how much advice you receive and how well-wishing the givers of the advice are, it may not work for your child or your family. We are all different. Work with what you know, and be open to learning from your child. He or she may create their own vocabulary or signs – learn these with your child so that you can communicate easier and reduce frustrations. Take all the advice you get with a grain of salt. Listen with your ears wide open, but introduce into your family that advice which feels right to you. Some people will tell you to do one thing, and others will tell you the complete opposite for the same issue. Only you and your family can implement the appropriate change.
Learn with your baby. Your child will show you a whole new world of experiences, joys, fears and triumphs. They do grow too fast, like you’ve heard for so long, so make sure that you take the time to enjoy the little moments. Remember that they won’t be this small for long, that these frustrations will pass and new ones will come in their place. Cherish the personality and the uniqueness of your own child, and never compare your child to others that you may know – even if they’re the same age or your other children. Each one of us is unique and wonderful, including multiples. Love with your heart wide open, watch with your eyes full of wonder and listen with a keen ear. These will save you from becoming overly frustrated, and help your baby grow and develop as a person as well.