Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The learning curve of motherhood

They say that becoming a parent involves a pretty steep learning curve. They weren't kidding. One minute you're basking in the glow of pregnancy and then *BAM* they send you home from the hospital with a tiny being who relies on you for EVERYTHING!

My learning curve with Hayden was particularly harrowing. I looked at other babies, sleeping peacefully in their cribs or cooing playfully with strangers, and wondered what I was doing wrong. I did most of my parenting by following Hayden's cues:
He refused to sleep alone, so we co-slept.
He screamed whenever I put him down so I didn't. We began baby wearing with a sling all day.
He was overwhelmed with crowds and noise so we often stayed home.

A lot of people questioned those decisions. Heck, I questioned myself plenty of times. I often wondered if it was my parenting that made Hayden such a needy baby. Was it nature or nurture? I was never quite sure...until I had Felicity.

The difference between my children is night and day. Where Hayden found the world overwhelming and frightening in infancy, Felicity finds only magic and mystery. Where Hayden needed me to feel safe and secure, Felicity has found inner-peace and the confidence to explore her surroundings.

Fliss is now three months old and sleeps on her own in an Amby bed all night long. If she wakes up, she just finds her fingers and quietly soothes herself back to slumber. During the day, she will quite happily lay on her change table or on a blanket on the floor and amuse herself with the things she sees and touches.

With my daughter so self sufficient, I often find myself feeling redundant. I had resigned myself to a repeat of Hayden's first year. Being needed, wanted 24/7. Instead I find myself with free time. With a child who smiles and laughs more than she fusses.

Just when I thought I had this parenting thing figured out, I've had to completely adjust my style. I now have to check myself to avoid smothering her inquisitive nature or her independence by treating her as I would her brother.

By the time Hayden was ready to face the world, he was walking and talking. I have a feeling this little adventurer will be a whole different challenge.

The learning curve has begun all over again. I can't wait.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A budding philanthropist

Hayden: Mummy, those kids are sad.

Me, looking up from my computer to see a World Vision commercial: Yes, they are buddy.

Hayden: Why are they so sad mummy?

Me, tentatively: They're hungry buddy. They don't have enough food so their tummies hurt.

Hayden, looking worried : They can have the rest of my chicken. And my cookie. Then they'll be happy.

And then I cried, wishing it was that easy to solve world hunger and touched to see Hayden's budding empathy.

I think in the new year we'll sponsor a child to help him see that we can make a difference, one child at a time.