I saw this quote floating around on Instagram today and it got me thinking... Before Ayden was born and in his early days, I found myself wanting him to fit into some sort of pre-determined mold. My top three concerns going into parenthood were that:
1) I might have a fussy baby
2) My baby may not be a good sleeper
3) having a baby would take away from the bond that David and I have shared for all of these years.
It has been easier than we ever thought it would be to maintain our relationship but the other two came true right out of the gate (self-fulfilling prophecies?).
Since Ayden's arrival, he has taught me so many things. He has taught me that as much as I plan and educate myself, in the end there are just some things that I cannot know or prepare for. He has taught me that some big fears can come true and that I can endure, live through and grow from experienceing them. He has also taught me that there is something so much bigger and more important in this world than to put my children into some kind idealistic mold. Ayden is... Ayden. He is happy and excited about life. He experiences all emotions very intensely (like his father). When he is happy, everyone knows it. When he is not so happy, everyone knows it and he has been that way from day one. Being there for him and letting him be himself quickly became more important than even my biggest concerns.
All I can say is that back when I was trying to "train" him to be something he was clearly not, we all felt the stress that it added to our household. He has been his own person from day one. We can shape and mold behaviors all we want. Those are supervilous and all it takes is patience, consistency and finding a form of discipline to which he responds well. What we can't shape is who he is at his core. And why should we want to? He is a spirited child and the world is most definitely a more exciting and wonderful place with him in it, just the way he is.
I can only hope that I can go into having our next child with a mind set of, "I can't wait to see what he/she is like," while having the comfort and confidence to let him/her lead the way in those early days. Some children are able to go with the flow enough to happily fit into any mold you may like for them to. Some children are not. It is as simple as that. If you end up with a child who doesn't, parenting them will take a little more out of you and will show you limits you never knew you had but the reward is tenfold. With time, all babies grow up and gain independence. Even the higher maintenance ones. There is no stopping it. All you can do is wake up everyday knowing that it is a new day and a new opportunity for your child to grow and change and learn something new. There will be a day when they will meet your expectations. Some children just need a little more time than others and that is okay. Nobody ever said they had to meet them from day one.
Have you had any "low" expectations or self fulfilling profecies along your parenting journey?
Sometimes I wonder if my worrying too much and trying too hard with Ayden's sleeping actually caused some of the issues that we still have today. Perhaps he would have ended up a better sleeper if I just let him lead the way? Shoulda, woulda, coulda! I find it hard to hold high expectations for fear of disappointment yet don't want to not have expectations at all. As with everything else, it is a delicate balance I suppose...
Flashback! Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Dance, Dance, Dance!"
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