Isa is 13 months today, and looking back I am certain that I have learned and changed a lot. But here some lessons I have been taught (there is a lot more of course) since Isa arrived:
1. Fully breastfeeding for two years is doable. Though I failed at it (Isa was supplemented with formula milk at 8.5 months old, though now at 13 months he is yet to fully wean off), I have learnt my lessons and I think – should the next baby come – I know better on what to do. As a working mom, all that I need is extra effort to pump and stock up expressed breast milk during maternity leave, and be more disciplined in following the pumping schedule.
2. Using baby cradle is not a must not get your baby to sleep. I never own one, never tried one. And Isa seems to learn not to like it too.
3. Not using a baby walker does not make my baby walk later than other children. Isa took his first step at 12.5 months and now eager to run. That’s not any later than other kids I believe? We own no baby walker, but I know that the crèche does use it. However, I have been told that Isa could not stay long in a walker, he prefers crawling and moving around freely!
4. I can teach my kid(s) to love books and reading by introducing books and reading very early in his life. I read to Isa since he was two months old (or to be particularly precise, since he was in the womb), and lately many have noticed that he treats books with huge interest and imitates what looks to me like reading – well, he babbles while flipping through them.
5. A kid’s love for TV (which I have seen everywhere) can be controlled. I am not sure if we parents can take any credits for this, but Isa does not appreciate TV other than as a machine that he could poke, push and play with. He never look at what those on screen more than a few minutes so I’d say he is never seem glued to it. We are not avid TV watchers for a start (average time spent less than 12 hours per week), and we don’t subscribe to any children’s TV channels as suggested by many parents I have met. I have made a pledge very early on not to use TV as a soother for my crying child, because I think TV is very mind-numbing, but even when we are watching our favourite shows, Isa does not seem interested and is mostly comfortable playing on his own in his playing area, which is next to the TV area in our living room. I hope his disinterest in TV will continue – I am not banning TV completely but I made a pledge to control it as much as I can.
6. The arrival of a child can both make or break a marriage. People say that children make the tie stronger, but I know from my brief experience there are many circumstances that could lead to frictions between spouse. Parenting style, child caring chores… all these can add more stress to the relationship. Or it could make you both a better team. It is how we navigate through this storm that determines the outcomes. Love and mercy are essential I reckon.
7. Being a mom means that I should always have the end in mind with whatever I do in relations to my child. I want to him to be an excellent servant of God, I want him to be a person benefiting those around him, I want him to grow up in this challenging world knowing that he has all what it takes to brave through it and make an impact – and the fact that whatever I do to him, whatever I teach him, will lead to whether these could become real or not.
8. Babyproofing your home makes learning easier for the kids. More freedom to move around, more freedom to explore and more freedom to be independent – well, without anyone keep shouting ‘No’ to whatever the kid touches.
9. One of the best things I could give to my child is a happy marriage. I could see this first hand nowadays. Isa will laugh whenever he sees us laughing. Every single time without fails. And he will look upset whenever me and my husband get into arguments. He becomes quiet straightaway.
10. A child imitates. Get yourself right first.