Prior to having Jack, I was sure I’d end up with the brattiest little child on the planet. I thought this because many people said I was such a bratty, spoiled child growing up. They were wrong but I will concede the point because I am stubborn and particular and I was never very kidlike. I did not make things easy for anyone just because I was a kid and they were adults – I still don’t buy into conformity, and my trust and respect has to be earned.
So being who I am, and with my husband being a similar type, I was surprised to give birth to such a sweetheart baby. He is totally by-the-book, and as long as we pay attention, it isn’t difficult to determine what Jack needs. Perhaps our parenting has something to do with it, but I’m sure much of it has to do with his personality, as well. A little nurture, a little nature.
Yesterday we took Jack in for his 12 month check up and shots. He charmed the doctor (an AWESOME doctor who was covering while our less-than-stellar primary care pediatrician is on vacation) and nurses as usual. He received three shots and started to bawl. I latched him onto my breast and almost immediately he calmed down. We sat and nursed for 5 minutes and then he sat up and smiled at Joe and me. We walked out of the exam room and he smiled and chatted with the nurse who had administered the shots. As we put him into his carseat, I asked Joe, “Can you imagine what this would be like if I didn’t breastfeed?”
The boy has been a bit sleepy since getting his shots, and he is a tad whiny but for the most part he is his happy, funny self. While speaking with his daycare provider today, we talked about how Jack weaned himself from a pacifier months ago and has no “lovey” objects. It seems to me that he is getting the emotional assurances he needs from us and his daycare provider, so he does not need to hang onto artificial objects for comfort. I feel really good about it, but nervous that we will not find an equally awesome daycare to support our parenting while we are not able to be with Jack.
I am in love with my son. It took a while for me to get here for some reason. Maybe it was the mild depression I suffered from for months, or the chaos of various things going on in our lives. Maybe it was the fact that I was a first time mom and felt blind-sided by the needs of this little person. It doesn’t really matter because I managed to give Jack what he needed anyway, and I’ve found my groove as a parent along the way.
There are still challenging days but I now feel confident that we will get through them. I’m starting to see myself in him and that force is definitely something I can understand. It’s when we are both being willful that we have trouble. And as his willfulness increases, instead of calling him spoiled or bratty, I will stand next to him and say that he is his own person and I wouldn’t wish for less than that.