You are the expert on your own child
This is a blog I wrote a while back, but the content is always extremely relevant. I hope you'll give it a read.
My youngest is growing in leaps and bounds these days. She’s talking more than ever, standing up in the middle of the room with no help, and climbing ever more challenging obstacles. Her new found freedoms have been a long time coming, and she still prefers to spend most of her time being cuddled, but we’ll take what we can get. I guess she would be considered a high needs baby by most people, but I never really thought about it until very recently. She’s teething, and we’ve been travelling quite a lot, so she’s been spending quite a bit of time voicing her displeasure in the back seat of our car. A few momma friends have asked me how I deal with it; the crying, the constant desire to be “up”, the challenges with her ability to self-soothe. And, as always, the answer is: I just do it, like we all do.
Some babies just need more, and mine is one of those babies. Sometimes the days are really really long, but I know in the long run that this too shall pass. She has definitely been a lesson in parenting and that lesson is DO WHATEVER WORKS! I talk to moms all day every day, and I see the sheepish looks they give me when they tell me a little trick they’ve learned to cope with their own personal parenting challenges. If it’s snuggling your baby to sleep, or distracting them from a freak out by showing them videos of themselves on your phone, or sneaking them vegetables in a smoothie, you just have to do what works for you. Don’t be ashamed of it – it is literally saving your sanity and your relationship with your child. We tend to get consumed by doing the right thing, and we read all these books by parenting “experts” to find the answers. The truth is that there is only one (maybe two) expert on your child and it’s you. You’re the only one who knows your child’s personality, reactions to situations and likes and dislikes. You’re the only one who goes through the daily grind with them. You’re the only one with your specific set of values and hopes and fears and expectations.
So, when you find a little trick that helps your baby sleep, or eat, or laugh – do it. Now I say that from a place of health, so try to keep those tricks nutritious and safe and in the spirit of growing happy healthy babies. But still – do it.
My almost two year old still loves being held, so we wear her quite a bit – lifesaver.My first little guy was the pickiest eater, but we got good nutrition into him with kale smoothies until he developed a broader palette. The thing is, he did develop that palette and now he eats all kinds of things and wants to try new stuff all the time. The same thing will happen with our littlest. She’ll eventually be confident enough to explore on solo expeditions. The greatest part of it all is that even when they’re past the thing they need a trick for right now, they’ll be into something new and I’ll need to come up with a whole new set of approaches to help them get what they need, learn, grow and develop. That’s what parenting is all about, helping your children adapt to the world around them. Keeping them safe, keeping them happy and doing all the right things to maintain your sanity in the midst of it all.
Remember, this too shall pass.