Ok, so you find out you’re going to be a parent. You are ecstatic/overjoyed/thankful/scared/nauseous or all of the above. You dream of times that you will spend together, going to the beach, playing in the park, cuddling your bundle, teaching them to walk/talk/ride a bike/pick their nose or whatever you have always wanted your kids to do. You also read about a thousand books and decide which one you like the most and then you feel “prepared” for your baby…
In those early months of Kyla’s childhood, to the months after that and then even now, we constantly do really stupid things, then look back and want to cringe/cry/kick ourselves in the face because of it. Shockingly I can’t even say that it went that much better with Riya, although we were/are more relaxed I think.
There will probably be many more of these type of posts to come, however I want to highlight some of the times that I look back on with regret.
We thought Baby Sense was the “Bringing Up Children Right Bible”.
Oh how wrong were we. Looking back now, Baby Sense doesn’t even make much sense. It told us that our new born could not be awake for more than 40 minutes at a time and after that they should be asleep. So come hell or high water we PUT Kyla to sleep every 40 minutes (that sounds bad – we didn’t tranquilize her or anything) – not taking into account that she wasn’t necessarily tired or our God given instinct. It made me get upset when people looking after her (mostly our Mothers) wouldn’t do it at the moment that we said they should. Not realising that they actually knew better all along but were nice enough to let us make our own mistakes. As described in a previous blog, we would struggle to put Kyla to bed, sometimes for many long and tedious hours that would have us all in tears.
Although Baby Sense had more sense in other areas, we were too silly to go with our gut cos we were just so scared of doing anything wrong with the gift that God had given us. With Riya, we are going with the “Gina Ford” route, but still going more with what we feel is right. She is doing so much better and it only takes her a couple of minutes to go down by herself – what a joy!
Those little moments of misguided loving…
When we just brought Kyla home from hospital it was the heart of winter in Cape Town. At 10pm we realised that we had not yet bathed her (oh calamity)… Seth was adamant that we bath her then and there, toping and tailing would not suffice. Out comes all the goodies to bath our tiny freezing bundle. Now if you are not used to doing this bath routine (and even if you are) it is quite long, add to that that we weren’t 100% sure of what we were doing, Kyla crying like she was about to die and a freezing kitchen… Yes, we bathed her on the counter in the kitchen… Don’t ask… This made for an altogether awful experience and a really cold, screaming baby by the end of it. Definitely learnt our lesson there… I think. Immediately after feeling her near frozen body, it hit me, ‘Maybe that wasn’t a good idea?!’, especially cos it took us like 40 minutes. Feeling like the worst father in the world I wrapped her in about 10 thousand blankets and stood over the heater trying to avoid hypothermia.
Another time was when Kyla had started eating cereal. Seth lovingly made it for her and wondered why it looked a bit different to normal and why it took so many spoons for it to become thick. Kyla didn’t really want to eat it but we kind of made her. Only to realise much later that day that we had given her formula instead of cereal… Concentrated formula… I am glad to say that she is still alive! Mmm dont think I like this post, next one better be Moms wrong doing.
One more… Our eldest daughter is such a gifted baby, she is going to do everything early… Crawl, walk, eat, dance, talk… You get the picture. But did you know that from like 4 months she started “teething”… … … How did we know this? Obviously because she was biting everything… So being the new parents that we were and taking into account what everyone said (yes everyone! People in Pick n Pay were stopping us to tell us that she is teething cos her hands were always in her mouth), we applied Teejel to our 4 month old… It was like she was drunk… Like full on drunk… So stupid really, considering that she only got her first tooth like 2 weeks before her first birthday… The comments continue with Riya, though we are waiting till we see proper signs. eg. Swollen red gums, excess drool… maybe even a sign of pain.
Caring too much about what other people think about our parenting…
This is one of my problems that I need to work on, but I care too much about what other people think. You know how it goes. You go to someone’s house or they come over… You don’t want your child to look nutty or downright rude in front of friends by your crazy nutcase, uh, I mean angel, destroying the house or throwing food around or eating everyones food or *insert an act that would imply that you are a bad parent here*. I find that this most often happens with friends that don’t have kids, and like me (before I had kids) you know they are thinking about how they would treat the situation if it were their sugar-highed sonic the hedgehog, uh I mean darling child. Yeah I hate that too. It’s almost as if people like this look at every facial expression I have, to see if I’m a good dad, or if I’m awkward, or they just already have it set in their minds that men cant look after children.
But you also feel like they are watching every move you make when you try to discipline them. How you do it, why you do it, thinking how they would do it if it were them or their child etc… I hate feeling watched, it makes me nervous and then I react in ways that I normally wouldn’t, which results in my kiddy being confused but also leaves me a bit confused at the end of it. I already struggle to discipline them, especially because I often find what they are doing so incredibly funny! I end up scolding Kyla with a smile on my face that I just can’t control… Obviously then she thinks it’s funny… Then she is totally confused when I put her on the naughty chair.
But not only those aspects of parenting, it can be so easy to compare everything, the milestones (oh don’t get me started), the amount of food they eat, what they eat, where they eat it, how much they sleep, when they sleep, how many times they fart in your face, vomit on your lap or, ok… You should get where I’m going with this…
It’s just so silly. Chat with your partner, decide your approach to *insert any controversial parenting topic* and stick to your guns. Don’t judge other people by which approach they have taken, you might not agree but it’s their choice (I find this especially hard if your goodies are being eaten by their kiddo – I still haven’t quite worked out what to do in that situation). Beat them, then the parent, then eat all the goodies so it doesn’t happen again.
Those are just some of the things that I have been thinking about recently, I am not sure why, cos Kyla is mostly pretty reserved. But there you go anyway… and I’m just asked to add 2 cents, so thats why I write in green, cos it’s the colour of money. Yes 2 cents is bronzey looking, but that doesn’t matter.