My mom, while she had to work extra hard to keep us in food and clothes, was an ideal example of what parenting was/is. She loves wholly. It's hard to describe that perfect kind of love. I remember bits about my childhood and life with her and just remember always feeling like I was wrapped in a warm embrace. I thought for sure that would be the type of parent I would be, think only of my children and making all of my decisions based on their welfare, exclusively. I'm not like my mom, I have a million interests and a career I LOVE. I spend a fair amount of time away from my son, and for a while I thought he didn't care for me too much. I recently took him to meet his new baby cousin Rhett when he was born and I had my son on my own for 3 days. No Daddy. No Nanny. I was scared. How would I handle every moment on my own?
It's amazing to me that there are people out there that love children so much they want to work with them all day. Our Nanny and my mom would easily take a child on their own and play all day and do all the things a child would like the entire day. I like doing laundry and dishes (not really, but I DO like when they're done.) How can I do all of the things in life and still give my child all of the things he needs like college, cottage cheese and playtime? He went through a particularly bad period where he would whine constantly. As a parent I thought you can tell what's wrong with your kid, but that was on average. Everyday he would whine and I wouldn't know what the problem was but that I knew he couldn't express himself and this was the base of his frustration. WOW this was a rough patch. Sometimes I can say I wasn't sure if I even liked him, every day was a struggle and I would think why did we have kids again?
Then today I woke up and he was laying on his belly three feet from the cat and asking her "What's your name?" I said "Her name is Mamma, she doesn't talk like you." He ignored this altogether and proceeded with, "Kitty, what's your name?" With that my heart swelled to an unprecedented size and burst into a million baby hearts. On our one-on-one trip to see his baby cousin that immediately trailed a family trip to New York, we bonded. We really connected, his health is good and he is learning everyday more words and putting phrases together. We started with, during his terribly rough patch, "May I have _____, please" it really helped to curb the whining, and he is very capable now. He uses the phrase for everything "May I have cottage cheese, please?" for obvious reasons. And "May I have playground please?" when he wants to go play. And when I wasn't pushing his swing fast enough "May I have higher please?"
Now I know if he is crabby which is usually once every couple of weeks, it's probably because he is tired or bored. We're told all the time what an easy child he is, which is always followed with, "wait till the next one!" usually with a little snicker... Oh yeah?! maybe we just make good kids.
his beloved Bunny Bear, never leaves home without him. Neither do we ;)
Raising a child is a balancing act, with each success there is a usually a new challenge. In our case, he can communicate but that means he can now express a preference to sleep in our bed instead of his own. Just when you think you've got this child rearing thing tapped, a new situation presents itself. You discuss with your spouse what the next move should be and implement. Then hopefully that problem is solved and you can ride a 2 to 3 day parenting success wave before there is a new issue you get to work on. When my son was due I was scared out of my mind. Not only, "Will I be a good parent?" but also "How do I keep an infant breathing?" these were my concerns. I had a good friend tell me, "God wouldn't present you with a problem you can't solve." Luckily all of those problems don't come at once. It is years worth of weekly challenges, but with each issue comes real hugs. "I you too," which is Bishop speak for I love you, and this....
Sometimes I think my heart may burst with happiness.
Austin Child Photographer