Most first time parents have this fairy tale vision about parenting. They have seen enough spoilt brats in their circle of friends and family to create their own rule book of what not to do with their own children. I, of course, was no different. When I was expecting my first child, I vowed to feed him the healthiest of foods any child had ever eaten. I vowed to have him sleep on his own, through the night. I vowed that my child would never throw a tantrum in public. I was dead sure I would be the perfect parent and my child would be THE PERFECT child.
I started with this optimize when my daughter was born, nine years ago. I created this fairy tale rule book for her. I decided how much she would eat, sleep, read, play, drink and be naughty. J Sigh!! Most parents would be smiling at me by now. Yes! I failed miserably. Of course, there is nothing perfect about parenting. There is no rule book that works for 99% of the babies. There is no parent on earth, that I know, who wants their child to be sick or temperamental. Of course, every parent wants the best for their children in every possible way. And of course, every parent will do the best of the best to make it happen.
Then where do we go wrong? Where did I go wrong? I found my answer when I had my second child one year ago. Having failed so miserably at creating my fairy tale the first time round; I only vowed one thing this time. This time I would not fit my child it my own fairy tale. This time I would find out which fairy tale my child was coming from and fit into that. With my mind and heart open to any possibility that we might come across, on the way, we set forth one day at a time. My son was barely days old but he could tell me when he was hungry or sleepy. As weeks passed, he guided me on how to make him crawl, to stand, to walk. All I had to do was watch for the signs and he guided me on the rest. Life has been much simpler and happy, as close to a fairy tale as can be.
Some parents would be frowning and thinking that I have no idea how temperamental and fussy some children can be. We definitely need to put controls in place. I completely agree to that. Each child is undeniably different in temperament, food taste, inclinations and sleep habits. Which is the biggest reason why we can never succeed at fitting the child in our rule book.
My children have taught me that fairy tales do exist. In our fairy tales, fairies have magical powers but they also cry when they get caught or hurt. They wear the best of gowns but they don’t hesitate to roll in the mud when playing. They live a long long life, but one day, they too will die.
I have learnt that there is no such thing as The Perfect parent. Because parenting is actually about discovering the Perfect Child within you and letting it loose once more.