I practice daily patience with Oliver by always understanding him and being compassionate about what he is possibly going through. I think we forget to put ourselves in our babies’ shoes; my dad always said, “Imagine what they’re going through! Their first time at everything. The smells, the sounds, the touch…everything.” If you really think about it, it’s quite overwhelming! I mean, as adults we are easily overwhelmed with new experiences on a daily basis too.
The truth is that when you have a baby, it’s not about you anymore; it’s about your child. Your homework is to make it about you again within taking care of your child and I really felt successful in that way by being calm, observing my child’s needs, patience and always responding to his needs in a kind and gentle way. It’s not always easy and there are times where I responded completely neurotically and irritated and we’re all humans. I went back and replayed that moment in my head; what is it that I could’ve done differently? What is it that I didn’t like about myself and what triggered me? How can I do better next time?
PRACTICE PATIENCE FROM DAY ONE
I’m honestly thankful for the moments I felt like I exploded or were just too much because that’s how you learn. I’ll have many more as he’s growing and as the evolution of motherhood continues. Before having a baby I said, “Nope Oliver will not have a pacifier” or things like that and I literally don’t know how I’d possibly handle it without one. That doesn’t make me a bad mom, it’s just how it is. My son will probably have crazy tantrums in a supermarket – I hope not but who am I fooling. That doesn’t make me a bad mom. I just exercise grounding and patience daily to be able to handle these moments at their best and I pray that when confronted with situations like these, I’ll be my best self for my son to always teach him how to be a sweet boy. My main mission is for Oliver to feel safe, heard and loved. I truly believe that it starts on day one.
My point is that as a new parent, it gets very overwhelming to know and understand your baby. Many people will tell you what to do but we all have different lives, schedules and lifestyles. You do what works for you. I think that patience and being grateful are key to moving along daily and being a better parent and all-around person. Patience, common sense and an understanding of human nature.
Imagine how you’d react if you were standing for the first time? Or being left alone in a living room with no sight of the one person who’s been with you from day one? I think it’d be pretty hard! It’s a learning process. Kyle and I had spoken a lot about what kind of parents we wanted to be for Oliver and agreed that we wanted to be as attentive as possible. We are aware that who we are and how we behave will translate into who he will become; you do the math. There have been times where it can get confusing. I felt confused as my parenting skills were challenged by common themes that I openly don’t agree with. That’s just me though and the parenting that I decide to manoeuver.
BABY MYTHS BUSTED
We are all free to do whatever we want. Here are a couple of things that I wish I hadn’t been fed, that made me think that Oliver was more complicated than he really is.
“Be careful, your baby will manipulate you.”
I think that’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard. We are a bunch of adults that got so jaded that we think that a baby has learned the capacity to manipulate. I think they’re just expressing a need and want. Nowadays, that’s considered manipulation. No, you’re just a new parent with responsibilities to respond and keep a human being alive. The most natural thing on earth.
“Your baby just wants you to pick them up.”
…so? Imagine you stay 9 months in the safest place you knew and then one day you are put in a completely different world and expected to perform a certain way. Here’s where I’ve chosen gentle parenting; I truly believe that by making sure my child feels safe, little by little, he’ll feel safe on his own. Step by step. With patience. So far it has worked great with Oliver.
“Don’t breastfeed your baby at night, he just wants to soothe.”
What’s the problem with soothing a baby? I understand that you have to teach your baby to soothe themselves, but it comes naturally by giving them what they need and modifying your approach little by little. This is not an army baby camp.
“Your baby will never sleep on his own if you co-sleep.”
False. If you’re determined to teach your baby healthy sleep habits, he will learn to sleep well. It depends on how your baby wants to start…Oliver couldn’t sleep anywhere else but with me for 7 months and when I had taught him healthy sleep habits and he felt secure which I could clearly see, he had no problem sleeping in his room. At 9 months he was sleeping through the night.
“Let them cry, it’s good for their lungs.”
Oh God….really? *sigh*
ABANDONING SOCIETAL EXPECTATIONS
No matter how hard it is to raise a child, I think I’m raising myself all over again as well and letting go of what society has taught me when it comes to fears, manipulation, mischief & some. I’m re-learning what’s important. I’m understanding people better and the true value of loved ones. I’m seeing the hardships in some people’s lives that I had never seen before. I’m appreciating living in the moment so much more.
It’s so beautiful to have a chance to be in the presence of such a pure human being. I enjoy every minute of it, of truly knowing in my heart that this little being is simply feeling the world at its truest forms and I had forgotten what that meant or how to do so.
Oliver is nowhere near manipulating me for more milk; he’s teaching me how to offer more of it.