Sunday, 14 July 2013

Parenting 101

As our little EDtot becomes a mischievous little two year old, I've been thinking back to those first few weeks when we brought her home and I had no idea what kind of parent I was going to be. Many of EDtot's little pals are becoming older siblings and it is lovely to watch the second time parents enjoying the early newborn days knowing pretty much how they are going to approach Round Two.

There are a huge number of books out there claiming to have all the answers to how to parent your child. I didn't read any before EDtot came along. Not for any anti-parenting book reason; I was simply preoccupied with the whole pregnancy and labour thing. I didn't consider what would happen once the dust had settled (quite literally as the builders only finished our kitchen the week after EDtot arrived).

Some pregnant friends had plans to cloth nappy, some had plans to ensure a routine was in place as soon as possible, some had already sorted out a nursery place for when their little one turned two (yes, the waiting lists can be that ridiculously long in SE22!). None of this had even crossed my mind. So it is just as much of a surprise for me as EDtot as to how we are going to approach each day and the challenges it brings.

I appear to have fallen into a group that some of my friends would chuckle heartily at. Having seen the efforts required when my closest friend adopted cloth nappies a few years ago, I had no desire to make my life any harder by following in her footsteps. But... have you seen how cute some of those designs are?!? My friend did it for all the right reasons - cost and eco-friendly. I fell into it, not literally, after being fed up with the poo-splosions that the disposables just would not contain. My friend had all practical ones with nippas and separate wraps. After trying a couple of second hand ones, I had a collection that could be the beginnings of a nappy demo library. (Have I mentioned how cute they are?)

The same could be said for my entry to the world of slings. I had a tot who was seriously unhappy to be anywhere except on me and for this reason alone I searched out a stretchy wrap to enable me to eat at least one meal a day and be able to go to the loo! I was hooked. Our wrap enabled a 4 week old EDtot to be fed as we wandered round Buckingham Palace, whilst my mum (who was over for a very short time) oohed and aahed over the Royal Wedding Exhibition. For the same reason, we ended up co-sleeping - in her moses basket, EDtot screamed; in our bed, she slept. We like sleep.

I know these two items are products and not parenting-styles, but there seem to be lots of people who associate them with particular ways of parenting. Many refer to Attachment Parenting and other similar titles. I don't even know what some of these terms really mean or encompass, but I guess some form of heading is required if for no other reason than to search for solutions on Google!

I can't really say which title best describes my parenting style. EDtot and I just seem to stumble from one day to the next and try to employ the best methods that I think will suit our current "phase" and lifestyle. I know I'd love for my style to be a far more patient, relaxed, gentle one, but sometimes life just gets in the way. I will persevere though and maybe one day I'll be able to coin a title all of our own and say, yes, that's how we roll.

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