Saturday, November 28, 2009

Motherly Advice

I have two facebook friends who recently had babies. There is so much advice I'd like to give them, but they really need to learn it on their own. Such as...
-Hold your baby as much as you want. Hold him when he sleeps, when you sleep, when you are both awake... He's only a baby and non-mobile for such a short time. Take advantage of it.
-Let your baby sleep with you. You both will sleep better, and isn't that the goal of weathering new parenthood? It's not like he'll be 14 and want to sleep with you. If he does, you've done some other things along the way that were questionable...
- Expose them before the age of one to a variety of foods. If you don't do this, you will hear, "I don't like that..." for every meal.
- Don't leave your baby on a bed without you holding/touching him. He may not be rolling over yet, but there is always that first time...
- The don't have to eat healthy EVERY day. It's OK to have a meal of hotdog, chips, soda and sweets as long as the rest of the meals that week are good.
- The world will not come to an end if they spend the day in their jammies, or go to bed with clothes on.
-It's OK if they don't brush their teeth every single night. They are baby teeth, they fall out anyway.
- Get them a pet, it will teach them love of living things (something my step-mom should have had), empathy, and will cut down on their chance of allergies later.
- Clean when the baby/toddler is awake. Doing housework while there is peace and quiet is just wrong.
- If the choice is clean or hold your baby, choose hold the baby. The dirty dishes will always be there, blink and the baby is running around naked in the backyard.
- Speaking of running around naked in the backyard, don't push potty training. Tell them, "Fine! Go to Kindergarten in diapers!" They will thank you and let you know when they are ready. I taught Kindergarten for 7 years and they never came to school in diapers- mostly because there's a school policy against it.
- Two words Baby Einstein. I let Ethan watch an hour of Baby Einstein every day between the ages of three weeks and four years. He's smart, appreciates classical music and I got to shower in peace.- Not at all bad!
- Don't let the TV be the babysitter. Sponge Bob is a funny guy, but a poor excuse as a parent. Talk to your kids. READ to your kids. Take them new places. Their future success in life is determined by the first three years. Comfort them, feed them, TALK to them, keep them safe, give them new experiences- even going to the grocery store is new and exciting to them.
-It's OK to teach your baby sign language, but don't be all shocked when he won't talk when he's three.
- Don't be afraid to say no. They will get used to it and listen when they are older. And BELIEVE me, your child's future teachers will thank you for it, as well as your child's friend's parents.
- It's absolutely OK to influence who your kids choose as friends. In fact you should. Would you sit by and let your child be friends with a jack-knife or crack cocaine? NO- think of telling your child "no" to the "bad" kids as keeping them safe, which is the parent's first responsibility. It is irresponsible to allow them to be friends with a "bad" kid. You are setting them up for trouble and you up for heart-ache. Of course those kids need to be "saved", but NOT at the expense of your child.
- That being said, it may seem for a while like your child has no friends. Trust me, one day - about the time when kids pick their friends and invite them over, rather than playdates arranged by their parents, and when being naughty isn't that "cool", your child will be Mr. Popularity because what parent wants to have a naughty kid at their house all afternoon?
- Last but not least, I know it's expensive and Payless is tempting, and they outgrow shoes every three months, but bite the bullet and buy quality shoes. They will hopefully be walking on those two feet for the next 100 years. There are over 50 bones in their feet and some aren't formed yet. Take it form me, it's a pain in the ass- and feet to have screwed up feet because the cheep shoes were too appealing.

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