Learning to become a parent

| parenting

First things first: a big thank-you to my mom for all sorts of things that I'm beginning to understand now that I too am faced with the only-a-little-terrifying responsibility of getting a tiny human being safely launched. A big thank you to W-‘s mom for raising an amazing person, too. I can't imagine doing something like this without W-‘s support and awesomeness.

2016-05-04d Parenting - things I'm learning -- index card #parenting

2016-05-04d Parenting – things I'm learning – index card #parenting

I was more than a little scared, going in. Before committing to this path, I followed Stoic advice and spent a lot of time contemplating and accepting the different ways things could go wrong. As it turns out, even though we have to help A- figure out how to deal with two congenital defects, it's still much easier than it could have been. I'm alive. W-‘s alive. A-‘s alive. The rest is gravy.

The biggest revelation was seeing an even more wonderful side of W-. Watching him come up with funny songs and games (the goldfish must be seen to be understood; I hope I remember how amusing it was even when I'm much older!), knowing that I can count on him when I'm too tired to stay up with A-, being steadied by his reasoning… Priceless, especially during those difficult weeks when we had so much to figure out and before A- learned how to smile.

Man oh man. Public health in Canada. Our tax dollars hard at work. I'm still getting the hang of talking to all the different people, but every time I walk in and out of a specialist's office without a bill, every time I can get the help A- needs without worrying how to fit it into our budget or long-term plans… Wow.

I've also come to appreciate the family-oriented social services that hadn't been on my radar before, such as baby activities at the library and the neighbourhood Early Years Centre. It's been awesome starting to plug into the community of fellow parents swapping tips, clothes, and other resources. I'm looking forward to learning even more.

I planned my 5-year experiment with an eye towards having the flexibility to focus on childcare if needed, and that has paid off wonderfully. Sleep disruption? No problem. I can sleep a little longer. Task interruptions? I've got systems to help me remember and automate, and we've simplified our life to make things easier. Uncertainty? I've been learning how to plan around questions. Learning how to learn, too.

There'll be many more questions and uncertainties and challenges ahead, and many more smiles and laughs and epiphanies. So far, so good. I could get the hang of this.

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