Thursday, April 28, 2011

Parenting theories and how I [basically] had no clue

My kiddo is about to turn one-year-old and though I've marked each month, and recorded each milestone, I'm still sort of stunned at how this can really be happening so soon. I read Susan's post about things she's learned post-parenting and it made me think of all the preconceived notions I once had of parenting, and how I feel now after nearly a year of parenting myself.

Pre-parenting Theory #1: Boasting about your kid and each milestone and comparing and contrasting bowel movement with other parents is boring. True. Yep boring before parenting, boring after. While one perk of parenthood is the ability to relate to people you otherwise had nothing in common with, there's only so much you can dissect feeding routines and sleep schedules before I get sleepy myself. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind conversation about children, it's nice sometimes, but when I am in the presence of people with the ability to form sentences, I want to talk about things like books, politics, [makeup! I'll even take makeup!] something. anything. else. It's like the executive who doesn't want to go out and discuss his job all the time. I love my job. My job kicks any other job's butts. But sometimes, I want to talk about other things.

Pre-parenting Theory #2: People who say they are running late because of their kids are just hiding behind their kids. False. Thanks to my parents, I am a ridiculously punctual person in a ridiculously unpunctual culture.  I've eaten dinner for a 7pm wedding at 11:30pm. I've arrived at 1:30pm for a 12pm function to find the hosts about to hop in the shower. I've adapted to this cultural quirk by timing my late arrival. 8pm dinner date? I take care to arrive at 8:30. Late, but punctually so. Enter: baby. I still haven't grasped that a baby requires extra time due to last minute diaper explosions and resulting outfit changes, hunger requests, buckling into car seats, prepping diaper bags and now am always running about thirty minutes behind schedule. Even my delayed arrival schedule. And while this mortifies me, and I have had almost a year to get up to speed, I am still always late.

Pre-Parenting Theory #3: Putting your kid to bed at 7:30pm is silly. Why do I want him up at the crack of dawn? False.  He's getting up at dawn anyways. Whether he goes down at 5pm. 7pm. 10pm. 3am, with the exception of one day he slept until 10am and we stared at him in a state of utter panic, he wakes at the crack of dawn no matter what time he's down for the night. And right around 7pm? He gets feisty and doesn't let up until he knows he is well on his way to PJs and bed. [how far we've come] So to ensure he gets enough rest? He sleeps at 7:30. 

Pre-parenting Theory #4: You seriously can have more to talk about with your spouse except your kids once you have kids.  False. We've gone out for two solo dinner dates since he's been born with the promise of no kiddo talk while we're out. And it went like this:

K: So what's new with you?
Me: Going good. Waleed went to the -
K: No, remember? No kiddo talk.
Me: Oh yeah, right. 
Me: Silence
K: Silence
Me: Well, where do you want to vacation this year?
K: Hm, something tropical. Don't want to be too busy on the trip since Waleed might get fidgety, plus time zones. . .
Me: Wait, no kiddo talk.
K: Oh, right.
K: Silence.
Me: Silence.
K: Did you like the last episode of Mad Men?
Me: I fell asleep towards the end. Waleed woke up twice last night. I think he's teething. 
K: Wait no kiddo talk.
Me: Oh right.
K: Silence. 
Me: Silence.

You get the idea. So far, the not talking about the baby who is [delightfully] embedded in every single aspect of our life? Not happening. Not sure if this is a good or a bad thing; it simply is.

Pre-parenting Theory #5: By the time my kid is one years old, I'll be an expert. Oh Aisha, how cute. Ha. Ha. And. False. I still have a handful of days to go, so maybe the parenting fairy will come to me while I sleep, and I shall wake a bastion of knowledge on all things parenting, but really? Doubtful. Nearly one year later I'm just as 'flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants' as I was the day he was born. The only difference? I'm at peace with the uncertainty. I'm a first-time parent and he's teaching me every step of the way what it is to be not just a parent, but his parent. And as uncertain of a road it is to know that you will be a novice every step of the way, its awesome in ways I could never have imagined.


What preconceived notions of parenthood did actual parenthood effectively shatter for you? Not-yet-parents, what theories do you currently cling to with the undeniable belief that they must be true?

17 comments:

Leslie said...

Oooh, this was a good post. But should I be worried? ;) I'm not clinging to any ideas at the moment. But I do think good parents are pretty amazing. Happy (early) bday to Waleed!

Aisha said...

Hi Leslie :) Worried about what?? You'll be just great!! I should have added to the point about parent conversations post kids, we do talk about other things, lol, but its never w/out some reference to the bebe. Before parenting this thought terrified me, but now its just normal and life :)

rickshawdiaries said...

You are so cute! This post made me smile so wide.

I've realized through parenting that I know nothing. It's a gift to realize that finally. :)

So glad that we can "parent talk" on the phone to compare notes!

Aisha said...

Baraka, I love our how our parent talks vacillates from teething, to writing, to sleep schedules, and the housing market, to tantrums and e-books- its truly the best type of conversation ever! :)

kmina said...

One thing my husband discovered after having George is how MUCH and LOUD babies can cry. Before he thought that babies just cry and you can soothe them one way or the other. Now he knows better. ;-)

As for me, I thought (before, naturally) that you can gently guide a baby to do what you know it is best for him or her. Now I know that babies don't know instinctively what it is good for them and no matter how hard you try your way, you have to adapt to the baby's way of doing what is best for him or her. Yes, I am looking at YOU, sleep.

Aisha said...

Kmina, I had no idea how much the cries would affect me either- they are powerful evolutionary feats! Oh yes, babies teach us so much! For being so tiny they sure do know how to turn things around on us! LOL As for sleep- you are my role model for strength- you are persevering in an arena I broke down and failed, lol. I hope you and sleep reunite very very soon!!!

Claudia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kate Marillat said...

Really enjoyed this post especially as I'm 34 weeks pregnant with our first child! Is it unrealistic of me to think I can still get 2 hours of writing done per day?

Glad to hear that a new(ish) mum still thinks it's boring to ONLY talk about children. I hope I remain that way, although I currently bore anyone with his daily breakdancing moves in my womb.

Thanks for sharing
Kate

cheryllookingforward said...

Your dinner date conversation is SO TRUE. We're planning a date this weekend and I'm trying to read a lot of news so that we'll at least be able to talk about current events! It's hard to not talk about the little person!

Anonymous said...

I really love your blog. Nowadays, I am epecially appreciating all the new-parent related content like this post, and the baby carrier post etc as I too will be a first time parent somewhere in June, InshAllah.

Aisha said...

Kate, thanks for your comment! And yes its absolutely possible to write two hours a day, and strange to say, but ESPECIALLY in the beginning. My rule has always been to write when he naps. I wrote about this at my writing blog: http://www.aishasaeed.com/search/label/writing%20and%20motherhood hope its helpful!!!

Cheryl, LOL glad to know I'm not alone!!! :) Thanks for sharing.

Anon, aw you made my day! I'm glad to know that what I've been writing on parenting is of benefit to you! Best of luck in June insh'Allah and thanks for leaving a comment :)

awomanmyage said...

Oh, my I wish I had written this post because it's so awesome and so true!!!! I am positively DESPERATE to talk to people now - except I'm terrified that I have absolutely nothing to say other than what my kid did that day. Which is what everybody keeps asking me about. Same goes when I get that oh so rare occasion to go out with my husband.

Here's a myth: You should remember to set aside date time to reconnect with your spouse. Really? Often, whenever I get "spare time", he's the last person I want to spend time with because we're both too tired.

Lisa Gail Green said...

Well, I'd like to tell you it gets easier... Every age has challenges and discoveries. But I can at least assure you you'll eventually get sleep. And there will come a time when you can say: "Go take a shower." And they DO.

Aisha said...

Awomanmyage, glad to hear you can relate. There is comfort in having the easy topic of your child to discuss with other parents, but I also worry bc I want to be able to talk about more than that. And yes- to that myth! LOL I agree completely!

Lisa, it sounds like a fantastical abstract concept, to be able to tell a child to take a shower and not actually sit there bathing them while they splash you and try climbing out of the tub. LOL. This time is going to go by so fast. Sigh. Thanks for your comment :)

Julia Munroe Martin said...

So true, every conversation leads back to the kids, always and forever :)

mystic said...

Before I had 6 philosophies to raise children. Now I have 6 kids and I have no philosophy. (Heard in a lecture of one Ph.D guy)

Aisha said...

Julia, that's a good thing? Or it just is? :)

Mystic, LOL, I have one kid and quickly reaching that conclusion :)

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