Expectations Meet Reality
One of the harshest lessons of parenting is that the standards that you may have set pre-baby are often not met. Perhaps some of you might recall those halcyon days of pregnancy when you made vows like, “We’ll breastfeed for at least the first year,” “We’ll make all of the baby food ourselves”, “We’ll never let the baby watch TV” and, “We’ll still be cool!” only to discover that your child won’t breastfeed (or you can’t keep up with the grueling schedule), you barely have time to go to the bathroom, "Blues Clues" keeps your baby quiet while you make the next round of bottles and that sure beats screaming and that if you ever thought you were the slightest bit hip before, you never will be ever again. The one promise we’ve stuck by – organic food (in jars, but hey…)
We once had dreams. Of course, those related to an easy delivery were squashed last summer. But there were others we still held onto. Dreams of cloth diapers and soft wet rags, not Pampers and Huggies baby wipes. Dreams of organic cotton onesies and fashionable attire, not whatever people give us, hand-me-down and otherwise (although there was one outfit that I steadfastly refused to put Frankie is on-accounta it was just *too* ugly). Our dreams of providing Frankie with the ideal lifestyle met my full time job and Dave’s two-to-three part time gigs. We couldn’t afford it either. Our resolve to “Never….” started to slip.
Another of our dreams is soon to be compromised. We’ve had to research day care options because Dave may be taking a full-time day job this summer. We’re on a waiting list for a place we visited and liked (more or less…I mean, I’d like to NOT have him in a day care at all). These waiting lists are insane. These places discriminate against those of us with unplanned pregnancies! When I jokingly told one woman at a day care center that I guessed I was supposed to have known two years before I was pregnant that I needed to make arrangements, she paused and answered in all seriousness, yes, that’s what most of our clients do (la-ti-da!).
Still, one thing we’ve never slacked on (besides the organic food) is attention. We can’t provide him with a perfect experience, but we can – with the help of grandparents, aunties, friends and family -- spoil him with playing, walking, laughing and constant interaction. I worry about whether or not he’s playing with the “right” kind of toys (Do they encourage enough understanding of cause and effect? Do they work his imagination or do too much for him?), but I do know at least I can’t mess up a good tummy fart.