With the birth looming at an undetermined date, I realized that I do actually want to do some reading on what will happen after this whole pregnancy thing is over.
As some people in my life will know, Kels and I posted on Facebook a short convo we had in which I noticed that I had done a ton of reading about pregnancy and birth, but no actual reading about what comes next! A really interesting FB thread followed, in which some people weighed in on their perspectives about such controversial topics as co-sleeping and attachment parenting, while most told us 'just love your kid and follow your instincts, you'll do great!', which is kind. But then one friend noted something I found personally spoke to me:
"I've actually come to believe that love, intuition and common sense are definitely *not* the only tools you need for parenting! For me, it's actually kind of freeing to understand that parenting is really really hard, and we need help, information, and acquired skills in order to do it! One of my favorite books (so far) is "between parent and child" (it's more for toddlers and older, not so much the tiny ones, but provides an excellent framework for interactions), and one of the things it says in the beginning is: "How would any of us feel if a surgeon came into the operating room and said 'I really don't have much training in surgery but I love my patients and I use common sense'? We would probably panic and run for our lives. Like surgeons, parents, too, need to learn special skills to become competent in coping with the daily demands of children. Like a trained surgeon who is careful where he cuts, parents, too, need to become skilled in the use of words. Because words are like knives. Love is not enough. Insight is insufficient. Good parents need skill." (granted this is written in a book about parenting to convince you that you need a book about parenting At first the idea seems scary, like "oh shit, I have to learn some things?!", but then you realize "oh, I don't *have* to be a natural at this! I can work on this and figure it out and do a great job!"
|I have moved on from "What to Expect When You're Expecting" to "What to Expect in the First Year." Kitty and Puppy refuse to learn new skills, but they support my learning.|
I'm sure this idea, like most topics, is about balance. I DO have some sense of intuition, and I already have a ton of love for this kid, but I am also excited about learning concrete skills that will make my life, Kelsey's life, and this baby's life a whole lot easier. Why not have a bag of tricks for when they cry, and some vague ideas about what the problems might be? While I don't have to go read every book and then make myself crazy trying to follow all of the (conflicting) advice, I also don't have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to caring for this child, who will likely be similar to many other children that have come before.
Simple idea, I know. But it's helpful for me to write them out here. Anyway... that's today.