Being new parents is never easy, no matter if it is your first or fifth child, there are always unexplored territory that require patience, a healthy dose of buck-up-champ-attitude, and real fortitude. It is pretty amazing when you get through a moment or a challenge in parenting that you didn’t know how you could ever handle. It may sound stupid, but one of my moments had to do with buying a pair of toddler shoes; I’ll explain later.
I like to consider myself a very prepared sort of person; I read a lot of books, I attend classes and seminars when appropriate, I browse probably too many sites for information and I have long conversations with my husband. None of this matter the when we placed our newborn baby in a car seat and headed home for the first time as a family. Every bump in the road, every car that looked like it might merge and every blind corner was the potential for absolute disaster. And, that was just the ride home.
Reality hit in a big way when we walked in the door and realized there wasn’t a nurse there to show us quick tips and tricks, no doctor to let us know things were going great and no monitors that showed us the heartbeat and oxygen levels. We were on our own with a fragile human being.
Some of the first things that we faced that were both expected and unexpected included:
- Baths (where, what equipment, how often, temperature of water, etc.)
- Changing diapers (best brands, how often, when to apply ointments, etc.)
- Changing clothes (how to support their body while doing it, if the clothes were too big, or too small, etc.)
- Laundry (if there are any allergies, best type of cleaning products, what about blow outs, etc.)
- Burping (what is patting too hard, when it isn’t gas, what if stuff comes up with a burp, etc.)
- Excessive crying (when is too much, do I let him cry for a little bit, what type of cry is this, etc.)
- Sleeping/Napping (what is a good schedule, is he sleeping enough, is it too much sleep, when can I sleep, etc.)
- Vaccinations (should we do it, when are they supposed to be done, will my baby have reactions, is a fever normal, etc.)
- Sickness (what is normal, when is it elevated to an emergency, what kind of medicines can I give him, what advice should I listen to, etc.)
- What about us and me time?
If I have just scared you off of having children, I’m so sorry! I would never change my decision to start a family; they have been part of my greatest joys and love in life. I guess I just wished that I had been able to internalize more of the information that was given to me, include the advice from my mom that said I would never be the same (emotionally, physically, spiritually and psychologically). There just is no way to prepare yourself for something that has no comparable in life.
So, bringing this back full circle to the toddler shoes story: We were dealing with our first child beginning to walk. His steps were obviously very unsteady, he used every piece of furniture in the house and still he struggled due to the fact that we had hardwood floors in the house. I had him in booties and socks to help his poor little feet while crawling and didn’t even make the connection when he started getting up off the ground that socks were making it more difficult to find purchase. He didn’t struggle with the couch area, which had a rug underneath, but much of the rest of the house was hard work. It took a visit from my mother-in-law who noticed right away the issue that occurring.
I had heard not to worry about shoes for toddlers until they were confident in their walking, even to the point of running. My sweet mother-in-law went out and bought a great starter pair of toddler leather shoes that allowed for the foot to not be constricted, natural materials and had enough texturing on the bottom to allow him to move about much more confidently around the house. This was sort of unfortunate because I quickly found out how much he liked to get into things, especially drawers. Any drawer in the house was an open invitation to be emptied. I was picking up everything from clothing to spatulas and band-aids multiple times a day. I guess these are the sacrifices we make to help our children grow up to be productive members of society and go through these same things with their own children.
Understandably, baby shoes aren’t the make all/break all of parenting, nor does everything hinge on every little decision that that we make. We all make are fair share of mistakes in parenting, mine includes a scar on one of children’s lips because he fell while at the park. But, this helps us to be better parents and provide all that unnecessary advice to all other new parents.