One of the great things about a very tiny baby is that you have explicit permission to do whatever works. Anything that gets you through the day, anything that gets that baby to sleep or stay calm, DO IT! Guilt-free! Safe in the knowledge that you are helping your baby be happy and healthy! It’s temporary anyway!
But then babies get older, they ‘graduate’ from the ‘fourth trimester’ and then…things count. You want to start creating routines and work on healthy expectations.
And now that they’re A YEAR OLD, we’re staring down the barrel of toddlerhood. Big babies and little toddlers know what’s going on. They have some opinions on things, rudimentary though they may be, and they will let you know what those opinions are, in their rudimentary way!
Routines and expectations are starting to seem really important now. Things are getting a lot more permanent, or pre-permanent, if you will. We’re building the foundation for the next couple years and the rest of their lives. No pressure! We have to give them and teach them the ‘right’ skills and habits.**
And so of course I worry about being intentional enough, about being attentive enough, about knowing enough of what to be intentional and attentive about!
I’m not singing to them enough–we didn’t even start any singing until they were like five months old. I’m not doing movement with them. I’m not doing any classes with them. I’m not pointing out and naming enough objects. I haven’t done sign-language with them. I’m not rocking them all night while looking blissfully at their faces. I’m not wearing both babies 24/7. I’m not teaching them Spanish or Mandarin. They’re not watching Baby Einstein or listening to baby genius podcasts (I hope I’m making that one up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it exists for real). I let them play by themselves for whole minutes at a time. They even have plastic toys that make noise!
In this age of endless books and online articles and Pinterest, there’s just SO MUCH. I don’t want to do it all. I don’t want to worry about it, really, but part of me does anyway. How can I not, with all this “make your baby the best” that we’re constantly bombarded with? Does everything our babies eventually do now really make or break their future selves? Really?
I want to say that we’re doing the best we can: that we are loving our babies, and trying to teach them and give them experiences when we can. They love ‘reading’ books and playing with blocks in addition to the plastic crap. We take them on walks. We give them hugs and kisses and tell them we love them. I hope that’s enough for now. I hope that will help them grow into good little people.
If they don’t, I guess it’s all my fault.
**According to this asshole, our babies will grow up to be depressed, drug-addled sociopaths because we fed them formula, let them cry for a few minutes sometimes, and put them in cribs in a separate room. Yes, that’s really what she says. I guess we should just give up now.