Thursday, November 03, 2011

Parenting: One year

Oh, that looks like something fun

Oh wow, how did we manage to pull that off? Before T was born, someone was commenting on the fact that parents to be never felt ready, so he was wondering how we felt. My response back then was I was pretty sure after we have had a child, we still won't say we are ready. But some thoughts on the first year.

1. Parenting is an experiment of one. We used to say we would ignore all developmental milestones before T turned 4, in recognition that babies are highly variable. I can't say we have achieved that, but I think that the more we strayed from that ideal, the more the stress, and I don't think there was any benefit.

2. Attachment Parenting. To the extent we followed any philosophy (other than Chinese mother/auntie advice), we ended up closer to the attachment parenting school. He is what the AP folks call a 'high-need' baby, so he wants contact. But when he get it, T thrives. He is highly responsive to contact whether being carried around, having someone in the room in sight when he sleeps. The result has been what was promised, a baby who is very responsive to people (well, at least people he knows). For all he likes various toys, we like to think that we are his favorite toys.

3. Sleeping. All the books and magazines talk about babies sleeping through the night and when that happens. T is in that set of babies that does not sleep through the night. And apparently he has considerable amounts of company. This counts as another source of stress that did not seem to do any good. But his sleep (or non-sleep) schedule now drives the rhythm of our lives.

4. Learning. We are somewhat surprised that we actually do care about how well he learns, even now. Although we are not so sure about his peers who are doing flash cards and such. It is not facts or things we want him to learn (although we expect him to learn numbers and letters in due time), we want him to learn how not to give up, that things that are hard are worth trying to do, and when you can accomplish them, they are fun. He actually is just getting some of the things we have been playing with him, and it is a lot of fun watching him pai-pai shou (clap hands) when he accomplishes something

5. Alert. Ever since he made it past his colic period, this is one of the most frequent comments we get. That he is alert and intently examining his surroundings (this is another one of the rewards advertised of attachement parenting). He wants to look at everything, we joke he inspects everything he can reach and tastes his food before he decides it is acceptable.

6. Sick. Standard baby is sick with the condition of the month. Always changing.

7. Priorities. Probably the most frustrating part of parenting is that you are always have two or three top priorities at any point in time.

8. Toys. Well, besides us, we have him enjoying reading (at least he turns the page when he is ready to go to the next page, which is usually when we finish reading). Then there are the screens. We are raising a child who thinks it is perfectly normal to have a video call on something that is portable. As well as watch a video or play a keyboard or draw. We're not too sure about that, although I am hoping we can steer him to things that involve him making something.

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